- The organisation setup and your role within that structure.
Not all sporting clubs and organisations are set up and operate in the same way. It is important, regardless of the sport(s) that you are working with, that you are aware of how the organisation operates and what your role is within it. To get a clear understanding of how your club operates and how you might fit, you can consider the following questions:
How many teams does the club have and what age groups? (This might be juniors only/seniors only/combination of junior and senior).
It is important to be clear about what capacity you are engaged in as a Sports Trainer and what teams you will be working with. If you are working with junior teams (including U18s), you will need a Working with Children’s Check to carry out your responsibilities. Search online for where and how to apply for a Working with Children permit in your state/territory.
How many Sports Trainers does the club have employed or engaged voluntarily? Is there a Lead Sports Trainer or someone who coordinates this element of the club’s operations?
The Lead Sports Trainer will be your go-to person so discuss availability, shift times and days, equipment orders and replenishment, upskilling, and other general aspects of the role you will undertake as a Sports Trainer. They will also be the person who will listen, act on and resolve any concerns you may have and who you can collaborate with to ensure you are providing the best service to the athletes.
If you are the Lead Sports Trainer, it would be a great idea to get your team together and provide an overview of how training sessions and match days operate and outline the team’s roles and responsibilities for the upcoming season. It is essential that all parties know what is needed and expected for the upcoming season.
- What is your role within the club as a Sports Trainer and what are your responsibilities?
You may be a seasoned Sports Trainer, or new to the industry. Either way, consider the following as you are planning for the upcoming season.
- Are you up to date with your qualifications (Sports Trainer, First Aid/CPR and Working with Children’s Check)? Do you understand your scope of practice and the Sports Trainer Code of Ethics?
As the years roll on and you become part of the furniture at your club, upskilling and updating your skills can get away from you. As a team it is a great idea to keep on top of what Sports Trainers need to re-accredit their qualifications and re-visit the Sports Trainer scope of practice and Code of Ethics.
See our Sports Trainer Code of Ethics.
Are you part of a team of Sports Trainers, or is it only you? If you have a team, is there a Lead Sports Trainer? If it is just you, is this manageable? What are your roles and responsibilities?
As you may need to put some processes in place to support yourself while providing high quality service to your athletes, establish your responsibilities specific to your role withing the organisation. This includes set up, pack up, stock replenishment, ice, referral, etc.
Do you know and understand the rules of the sport you are working in, what is best practice and where your responsibilities lie?
At times, the rules of sport can change, and this may or may not affect how you perform your role as a Sports Trainer. It is good to be aware of any rule changes so that this information can be circulated amongst your team. Take some time to review any rule changes and any changes to policies like concussion/bleeding in relation to your sport. The key elements to understand include, when you can enter the field of play as a first responder to an injury, how do you respond to bleeds, and what is the protocol for serious injuries such as suspected spinal injury and suspected concussion.
Do you need to be invited onto the field or court by an officiator or referee, or can you enter safely at any time during play? If there is blood on the uniform, does this need to be changed and do you have additional uniforms for athletes? What is your protocol for a suspected spinal injury and suspected concussion and does this align with industry best practices?
All Sports Trainers need to be aware of and across all changes and should refresh information about other serious injuries. It is also a suitable time to practice stretcher drills, especially if there are new Sports Trainers involved this season.
- Getting organised with equipment and supplies.
What do you have and what do you need?
This is the right time to reconcile what you have in your Sports Trainer kits and look to replenish these. Decide who is going to be responsible for ordering and consider if there is a budget that the club has given you for the season and how best to use this. It may be that you order once for the rest of the season so you know what you have that needs to last, or it may be that you order periodically, two or three times a season to replenish what you need. It is reasonable to look back at the previous season and see what was ordered and what got spent.
You may have 2 kits. One for on–field assessment and one on the bench for off–field assessment and injury management. You may also have a specific kit for juniors and for seniors and even potentially an away kit for times when you travel to the opposition’s home venue. Each trainer may also be responsible for maintaining the materials in their bum bag if these are utilised.
It is important to understand the common injuries and first aid complaints for your sport and stock your kits accordingly. If you have been at your organisation for a few years, then you will be clear on what is required and may have even made a checklist of your equipment needs. If you are new to the sport and organisation, you can seek support from other trainers or get an idea of what will be required. Again, consider the budget you may have and what this is best spent on.
|Basic Sports First Aid Kit – Equipment List|
|Pocket mirror||Ventolin and Spacer||Light blankets (plus thermal) and towels||Nail clippers||Tape scissors|
|Vaseline||Popsicle sticks||Tweezers||Freezer bags||Chux wipes|
|Disinfectant wipes||Eye wash cup||Saline||Assortment of dressings (adhesive and non-adhesive)||Snap lock bags|
|Tackle box (safety pins, hair clips, Band-Aids, tampons, and loose items||Splints in assorted sizes||Jellybeans||Resuscitation mask/pocket mask||Sunscreen|
|Gauze (assorted sizes)||Sports Tape (Rigid and EAB)||Disposable Gloves||Sling bandages||Steri strips|
|Bandages (assortment)||Compression tubular bandages||Instant cold packs||Creams and ointments||Medical report forms|
Who are you sourcing your equipment from?
- Strapit – https://strapit.com.au/
- APE – https://www.apemedical.com.au/
- Club Warehouse – https://www.clubwarehouse.com.au/
How will you be storing and maintaining your equipment?
Once you have your equipment and kits put together, allocate the person who will be responsible for maintaining the equipment. From checking the defibrillator each month to ensuring supplies are maintained and stored effectively and safely, someone needs to take responsibility. Check ‘use by’ dates and quality of products as you may need to discard unused tape from last season, for example. Correctly storing your equipment is essential so that you can keep everything in good condition. A locked cupboard should be utilised so that only relevant people have access, to prevent just anyone coming in and taking/using supplies in a frivolous way.
- Getting to know your athletes
Who are you working with and what should you know?
Getting to know your athletes is a terrific way to encourage an open, supportive, and inclusive sport environment. Discussing your scope of practice with athletes gives them insight into what you do and how you do it. Ensure you begin building relationships with openness so that athletes feel comfortable approaching you about any concerns they may have about an injury or the management of an injury. Effective communication is the key to great relationships, and it is no different in the context of the Sports Trainer and athlete.
You can get to know more about your athletes from a health and wellbeing perspective by collecting this information and asking all competing athletes to complete a Pre-Exercise Screening Tool. If your club collects this information in a unique way, that is okay, however make a request to be informed of anyone who may be at risk while playing sport. Remember this information is confidential and athletes have a right to privacy so use this information with discretion and only allow those who require the information to access it. Tell the athletes why the information is being collected and how it will be used and reassure them that they will be asked to consent to information being passed on where necessary. When collecting this information from children 5-15 years of age, ask the parent or guardian to complete the document on the athlete’s behalf. If collecting this information from a youth athlete 16-17 years of age, use the Young Person Tool.
See the following links for the appropriate athlete form:
- Health Screening for Adults
- Health Screening for Children and Young People
- Building external relationships
Is your club able to provide additional allied health professionals to their athletes, such as a doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath, myotherapist, strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionist etc.?
You may or may not be lucky enough to work in a club that directly engages additional allied health professionals in a range of disciplines. As such, it may be important for you to begin to create these relationships or in fact nurture the external relationships that are already in place.
These allied health professionals may be engaged on training days, match days and externally. While some will offer direct service to the club and be present weekly, some will only offer a referral partnership whereby you can tell your athletes where to go for further assessment and advice.
If you need to establish new relationships with allied health professionals, consider which ones may be of benefit to the athletes you work with. For example, athletes who wear mouthguards may benefit from the club having a relationship with the local dentist/orthodontist so they can have correctly fitted and sized protective equipment.
In addition to deciding on which allied health professionals to engage, think about how you will approach them. Is it via email, quickly visiting to see them, sending a letter/flyer or all the above. Ask what they can provide, whether it be a discounted service, priority booking arrangement or running some education sessions across the season.
When creating these relationships, you can also look at compiling a list of local GPs, 24-hour medical centers and local hospitals. Once you have the season fixture, you could look at 24-hour medical clinics and hospitals local to the opposition venues as well. The more planning you do now, the better position you will be in once the season begins and your athletes will feel very supported.
While there are many tasks to complete in the pre-season, the information provided can help you get started on checking off some of these jobs and getting organised prior to the season beginning.
If some of the information is unclear in relation to the organisation you are working with, it would be a great idea to contact the Lead Sports Trainer or club operations team to discuss this further.