No coach wants to think of their players getting injured on or off the court. It can be heartbreaking to see a player with a lot of promise sidelined for any length of time due to a sprain, strain or more severe injury. You need to be aware, however, that as a sport, basketball does carry with it some inherent risk.

There can be injuries caused by interaction with other players (such as two players colliding mid-court after trying to get to the ball), or potential problems caused by a pre-existing health condition.

Different areas and organizations will have separate requirements for their team coaches in terms of first aid certification. However, there is a moral, if not legal, obligation for you as a coach to be familiar with the techniques needed to treat the injuries that may come up during a practice session or a game.

Ideally, you need to be up to date on both first aid and CPR. Originally, heart problems in younger players were virtually unheard of and so dealing with cardiovascular problems was very rare. Now, however, more players are beginning to have heart issues at a very young age. Making sure that you are up to date on your CPR technique and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) is very important so that you are confident and able to use either of these lifesaving methods effectively.

Your first aid duties as a coach include bringing a well-stocked first aid kit to any practice or game. It should contain materials to splint injuries since sprains, dislocations and broken bones can often happen during play. If you are going to an away game, you should know the location of any AEDs in the facility as well as being aware of the 911 address of the facility you are playing in.

If your players do become injured, it is your responsibility to either perform first aid or to oversee the performance of first aid techniques by qualified staff. You should know the basics of assessing injuries, recognizing sprains, strains, breaks and other injuries and also be aware of and able to respond to other potentially life threatening situations such as choking or bleeding.

You may also be called on to contact emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, so knowing the location of where you are playing or practicing is essential. You may need to give EMS personnel precise directions to your location and if you are unaware of where that is, you may prolong the response time and serious or deadly consequences may result.

It is also one of your duties to be as aware as possible about any health conditions that may affect your players. This is important because you may need to give this information to EMS staff if they need to respond to a call that you have made.

It is always good to check with the organization that oversees the team you are coaching. This will ensure that you know what paperwork needs to be up to date and if there are any rules or regulations that you must follow with regards to first aid duties.

Picture credit: makelessnoiseCreative Commons Attribution