Does your martial arts tournament have the right medical cover?
First Aid for martial arts tournaments is never straightforward! My son has been doing Taekwondo for almost 7 years now. As parents, my wife Ceri and I know exactly what sort of injuries can (and do!) occur.
We’ve provided medical cover & First Aid for martial arts competitions for several years as Nurse Practitioners at Lubas. We’ve managed all manner of injuries, from nose bleeds, sprains & strains to suspected fractures, serious cuts & nasty head injuries.
So here are a few things you must consider when providing first aid for martial arts…
As Lubas Sports Trauma Management instructors, Ceri and I have the knowledge & skills required to provide medical cover at martial arts competitions.
When employing medics for any sport, it’s essential they have the correct level of training. We work closely with Cardiff Martial Arts who’s number 1 priority is competitor safety.
As a health professional, an appropriate level of training, such as the Lubas Sports Trauma Management Qualification, is vital to manage potentially serious injuries. It’s often a requirement of the sport’s governing body.
Know what needs to be covered
To provide First Aid for sport & exercise, or employ medics to do the job, you’ll need to know the following;
- Is it a contact sport?
- What is the role of the officials/umpire/referee?
- Does it have a governing body that has rules and regulations regarding injury?
- What is the expected number of competitors?
- Is there adequate first aid cover for the crowd?
- What are the competitors’ age ranges & abilities?
We’ve come across all these issues at a variety of sporting events. From high level professional sport, to grassroots sports. These issues need to be discussed and planned by organisers before the event.
Planning and risk assessments are essential for running any sport tournament. Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (the Green Guide) is an excellent resource. It gives advice and information on:
- How to plan for a sporting event
- The medical provision required for different types and sizes of event
- Implementation, facilities and resources require
- The medical provision events require for both competitor and crowd cover
- Follow the link for more info on the green guide – www.sgsa.org.uk/greenguide
When providing First Aid for martial arts, it’s crucial that your medical providers have the correct equipment.
Dressings, gauze, gloves, nasal plugs, wound wipes, ice packs, slings etc are all ideal for first aiders or coaches/umpires who’ve completed First Aid for Sport & Exercise course (FASE 1).
If your martial arts tournament is a higher risk (as many are!), you’ll need higher levels of medical support.
Oxygen, Entonox (pain relief gas), defibrillators, box splints & advanced airway equipment are often needed (and in our experience, used) within martial arts.
You must have medical personnel with the correct level of training to use this equipment. They’re trained to use it as part of a team, knowing their individual roles and responsibilities at your event. This is part of the training we have received on the Lubas Sports Trauma Management course.
Ceri and I were again present at this year’s Taekwando event at the Cardiff City House of Sport. We gave a medical briefing to the umpires, judges and officials before the competition began.
During last year’s event, we managed several concussions that we wanted to try and reduce that number of at this year’s event.
The briefing reminded the officials about the importance of recognising the signs & symptoms of concussion. We highlighted the need to refer these competitors to us immediately for assessment. The umpires were pleased and agreed with our advice and the protocol we provided.
I’m glad to say that we only had three competitors referred to us for concussion assessments. Only one competitor was referred to A&E for further assessment.
The competition this year went really well. My son did not compete but was a judge and umpire for the first time, he performed admirably.
We had several injuries to assess and manage this year including; sprains, strains, cuts, multiple nose bleeds, concussion. However, we had planned for much more than this as my moto always is;
“plan for the worst, hope for the best”.