First aid for football injuries

Most injuries in football are minor, with contusions and sprains ranking high on the list. Proper first aid helps to minimise the effects of injury, and is easy to learn. Not every team has a team doctor present at the touchline all the time.

Luckily, severe injuries are rare in football – it is important to recognise these and get help quickly. But for the most common acute injuries you can give very effective first aid if you know some basic principles.

But exactly this - recognising how severe an injury is – might not be at all easy. After all, everyone just wants to go on playing. If you need to decide whether or not you or a team-mate should continue to play or train, the mnemonic SALTAPS  helps:

IMPORTANT: NEVER move a player with a suspected neck or spine injury or an unconscious player!

First aid in muscle and joint injuries

The PRICE regime is a simple five step protocol that even an untrained person can use to minimise the effects of a muscle or joint injury. You should use PRICE  immediately when an injury occurs - the earlier, the better.

Click here to learn more about the commonest injuries in football:

Emergency situations

Always have emergency numbers available and know which is the closest hospital or emergency facility. Call for an ambulance with:

  • Loss of consciousness (never move an unconscious player!)
  • Neck or spine injuries (never move a player with suspected neck injury!)
  • Broken bones
  • More severe injuries to the head or face
  • Eye injuries
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Any uncertainty about the degree of injury
  • Any breathing difficulties