While not mandated by law, best health and safety practices require that school, independent and community-based youth sports organizations develop, implement, and practice an emergency action plan (EAP) to protect the safety of athletes, spectators, coaches, and officials in case of a medical emergency.
A comprehensive EAP should:
- provide for on-site recognition, evaluation and immediate treatment of injury and illness, which can mean the difference between life and death from such conditions as heat stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, neck or cervical spine injury, or serious brain injuries.
- designate individual(s) to provide emergency first aid, including using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) in the event a player or spectator experiences sudden cardiac arrest, such as from a blow to the chest causing commotio cordis
- list the circumstances in which referrals to an emergency room or further evaluation by a physician must be made (such as in the case of suspected concussion).
- require that every team have a cell phone, pre-programmed with emergency medical care access numbers, at all games and practices.
- designate individuals responsible for calling EMS and provide them with:
- information on how to place a call to EMS and what specific directions to give to direct paramedics to where the game or practice is being held.
- phone numbers at which players parent(s) or guardians and the player's family physician can be reached in case of emergencies.
- a list of medical conditions for each player, and
- medical release/treatment authorization forms for every player.
- identify the individual(s) responsible for monitoring non-injured members of the team during an emergency.
- insure that emergency equipment is available, and has been checked or tested to confirm it is in working order and fully ready for use, including:
- an AED
- rescue inhalers, peak flow meters (or portable spirometers) for athletes with asthma, along with a nebulizer
- EpiPen®for those children with severe allergies are readily available at all times and that coaches are educated in their use.