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Coaching Soccer 101

Player Safety

Practical guide to player safety

"YOUTH" soccer is a safe team sport. But it is a sport and injuries can incur. Fortunately, there a some things you can do to protect your team and protect yourself.

Have a plan
Injury Prevention
First Aid Kit
Injured player on the Field


-Have a plan for the season. Write it down

-Get adequate medical release forms and injury records. Keep them nearby during season.
-Have an emergency plan for your practice field and game fields. Know where emergency phones are. Know how emergency vehicles will access field.
-Know emergency procedures and First Aid. Its is encouraged that coaches take CPR and First Aid courses. For nearest American Red Cross Center click here.
-Supervise practices and games closely
-Have a properly supplied first aid kit and inspect it regularly
-Ask parents if anyone is CPR certified. If yes, ask if they can attend games and practices. As a minimum make sure there are always two adults at practice. Know in advance which coach will leave and which one will stay.
- Discuss plan with coaches and parents.
Inform parents of inherent risk of the sport at your team meeting.


Other items to add to your prevention plan:

Emphasize proper skill and development.

Make sure players warm up, stretch and cool down sufficiently

Match players up according to size.

WATER,WATER, and more Water. Make sure players stay hydrated.

Prepare(and keep) practice plans with properly planned activities

Make sure players have adequate and proper equipment

Inspect field and GOALS before practices and games. Goal Safety PDF.   
  • Ice (in a plastic bag)
  • Small towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Compression bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Band-aids, plasters
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Eye wash
  • Scissors - large, blunt ended
  • Zip Lock Baggies- to secure any bloody bandages, band aids, ....
  • Sun block
  • Bug Spray
  • Extra Shoe Laces-Not medical but good to have.
  • Duct Tape- same thing- good for keeping laces ties or to secure net
  • two quarters taped to the inside for emergency phone

When you see a player go down on the field the first thing you want to do is remain calm. Next, immediately bring it to the referees attention so they can stop the game. If no ref, call a time out.

As you are approaching the injured player, observe his actions. If the player is flailing all over the place, most times he or she is not seriously injured. If the player is laying perfectly still, you might have a severe injury. Your CPR and First aid training will guide you here. If it is a serious injury, call emergency personnel and follow your emergency plan sequence from your First Aid Class. Do not move the player. This is especially important if they are complaining of neck or back pain. Wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

If it looks do be a minor injury (most injuries that occur at the micro and youth level happen because a player was tripped) the next thing you want to do is calm down the injured player. A good way to do this is to ask the player to relax and breathe "in" through their nose and "out" through the mouth. Repeat several times. Most youth players will concentrate so much on the breathing and will forgot about the injury.
Next ask where the player got hurt. 85% of the time its the players leg. If it is, ask the player if they can lift their leg. If the answer is yes, hold up your hand and ask the player to push against your hand with the bottom of their cleat. If they can put pressure on your hand, ask them to do it harder as you apply more pressure. If yes, ask them if they can go more. You will be able to tell by the amount of pressure they exert if they will be able to stand on it. If you think the player can stand on it, ask him/her if they can stand up. If the player stands, send them to go get a drink from the bench and observe how they walk. To be safe, give the player a break and get a substitute for them.

If the the player cannot put any pressure on your hand because it hurts their knee or ankle ASSUME THE INJURY IS SEVERE.
Immobilize the player which is avoiding any movement that causes pain.
Next perform the RICE method of injury care

Rest: stay off of the injured area as much as possible.
Ice therapy: apply ice packs to the injury at 10 to 20-minute intervals for 24 to 48 hours.

Compression: use a firm wrap or bandage (not too tight) around the injured area.
Elevation: raise the leg or arm to reduce swelling.

If the pain does not resolve itself after 2 weeks, see a physician.
In the case of severe pain or swelling that does not recede within a few days, see a physician immediately.