Pitch side responders in sports such as rugby are not typically from a background with regular clinical contact with the critically ill or injured. However, the quality of pitch side care, effective team working and communication with the emergency services are crucial to a favourable outcome - as illustrated by the “Chain of survival" seen in cardiac life support.
Sports medics deal with risk assessment on a daily basis, through areas such as return to play decisions and rehabilitation protocols, or travel itineraries relevant to nutrition, jetlag and illness. Similar consideration to risk should be given to minimise factors that may impede effective immediate care and team working in the event of an emergency.
The development of an “Emergency Action Plan" through a risk assessment that considers the sporting environment, communication, skill retention and team-working in emergency situations, is an essential part of immediate care preparedness in sport.
Such a plan should consider potential situations at both training and match venues and include standard operating procedures for specific scenarios as well as minimum standards of equipment, and responsibilities related to equipment checking and skill maintenance. (See medical equipment chapter).