April was National Youth Sports Safety month and with spring sports starting, it's a great time to review tips on sports safety. As the weather gets nicer, physical education classes may also move outside so it's the perfect time to review ways to keep your students safe.
Injuries do happen during physical education and sports activities and as a school employee, it is your responsibility to watch over and provide a safe environment for students. Most injuries can be prevented by taking smart and simple steps. Doing so saves the student from needless harm as well as saving the school or district from a potential lawsuit. Always carefully follow your district's policies and procedures in physical education classes and all sports-related activities.
Emergency supplies and equipment, such as a first aid kit, must be provided for staff and students. The supplies must be up-to-date and the equipment must be properly maintained. Emergency supplies should be those outlined by the school's administration in consultation with the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and Homeland Security. At least one adult with current training in basic first aid and lifesaving techniques should be available to students and staff at all on and off site school-sponsored activities. Training should include:
- The Heimlich maneuver
- Cervical spine protection
- The use of an automated external defibrillator and specialized emergency procedures.
School staff members should also be educated on and take precautions in the safe handling of blood, vomit, urine and other body fluids, and fecal material.
Members of your school's athletic staff are always responsible for keeping students safe. They should:
- Develop an emergency response plan for dealing with serious injury, including heat-related illness.
- Make sure that all coaches know the symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and concussion.
- Ensure that all athletes are supervised before and after practices and games, not simply during such events.
- Follow procedures in the Coach's Handbook that explain the need to secure facilities and to cease the policy of handing out keys to athletes.
SafeSchools Training has courses available that address ways to keep your students safe during athletic events and activities:
Reprinted from the School Safety Matters Newsletter published by Scenario Learning, LLC.
- Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Concussion Awareness: Athletics
- Health Emergencies: Choking and the Heimlich Maneuver
- Heat Illness Prevention
- Sports Supervision & Safety
- Steroid & PED Awareness in Athletics