The treatment of a seriously injured or ill player requires rapid assessment and initiation of the appropriate life or limb saving care in a safe environment. Time is of the essence. A systematic approach is required to ensure injuries or the consequence of illness, are identified and treated in the correct order.

This process is termed the initial assessment and the following template should be used for the assessment of all emergencies

  • SAFE approach
  • Primary survey with
  • Resuscitation as required
  • Re-evaluation
  • Secondary survey
  • Definitive care

The SAFE approach and primary survey apply to all emergencies. A full secondary survey requiring the removal of the patent’s clothing and definitive care are only really carried out in an appropriate environment. A limited survey may be carried out pitch side to identify issues that may restrict the movement of the injured player e.g. open ankle fracture but a more thorough survey is more likely to occur in the medical room or the ambulance. There should be no delay in patient transfer to hospital to allow a secondary survey when there are life threatening problems or time critical injuries.