We get many requests for event coverage asking for First Aiders, what they don't realize is that medical coverage for sporting events is far more complex than that. Here is a quick overview of the differing levels of care available.
First Aid - This is the most basic level of care. There are two levels of First Aid, emergency and standard. Emergency first aiders know how to do CPR, deal with choking emergencies, are able to recognize heart attacks, strokes and respiratory emergencies, they also know basic wound care. Standard first aiders know all of that plus splinting, environmental emergencies, able to recognize concussions and spinal injuries, plus more. They do not know how to tape, can not place an athlete on a spine board or manage concussions more than sending them to the ER.
Athletic First Aiders - In addition to knowing first aid, they will have basic injury assessment knowledge and management as well as taping and strapping skills. The knowledge base can vary greatly in this group as you can get HS students all the way to University graduates. Most "trainers" fall under this group.
Sports First Responder - Advanced first aid very similar to EMR.
Emergency Medical Responder - EMR is the first level of pre-hospital care. They are able to administer oxygen, learn about spinal immobilization, advanced splinting techniques, advanced wound care.
Sports EMR - this is not a professional designation but something we offer. Our sports EMRs take additional courses in concussion management and taping and strapping.
Athletic Therapy Certification Candidates - Our current members of CATA who are either still finishing their program or waiting to take their national exam. They are typically Sport First Responder certified, have an arsenal of taping experience, can provide concussion management and sport spinal management. They have injury prevention, assessment and management skills.
Certified Athletic Therapist - Have passed the CATA national exam, can provide basic first aid to advanced care. Are experts in the areas of injury prevention, management and return to play. Have extensive knowledge of taping, strapping, injury assessment, concussion management and spinal injury management. Their scope of practice also includes clinical care and treatment.
This should clarify the muddy waters of onsite care for sporting events. Of course it is ideal to have an Athletic Therapist on site, but reality does not always lend to that. Ensuring you have the highest level of care possible is important. Please ensure you coaches have Standard First Aid so that if there isn't more qualified help available basic care will be administered.