Having an emergency action plan (EAP) for athletes can be the difference between life and death. Consider the protocol in the event of sudden cardiac arrest: An on-site medical team begins CPR within the first minute, defibrillation occurs within two minutes, and EMS paramedics arrive to transport the athlete to an advanced life support facility within five minutes.
Such efficient care—essential to live-saving efforts—cannot happen without careful planning. An emergency action plan for athletes requires coordination among sports leadership, health support personnel, local emergency medical services, and coaches. Sports management professionals can provide the necessary coordination and planning if they have the proper training.
Emergency action plans provide a systematic approach to addressing medical, environmental, and security emergencies. In the athletic arena, EAPs are designed to guide people to respond quickly to sports-related injuries and medical conditions that are serious or life-threatening. Emergency action plans help ensure that sports organizations are prepared for serious medical events by putting critical training, equipment, and protocols in place before they are needed. Examples of conditions and injuries covered in athletic EAPs include:
Because athletes often push themselves to their physical limits, they face higher risks of serious injury. For example, sudden cardiac arrest is more common in athletes than in non-athletes because of the increased risk associated with strenuous exercise, according to Advocates for Injured Athletes, a nonprofit that supports athletic trainers and student-athletes.
Data gathered about sports-related injuries in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the importance of emergency action plans for athletes:
To build an emergency action plan that effectively limits risk and promotes health and safety, sports management professionals consider the following factors:
Emergency action plans should also be practiced. Drills designed to simulate a medical emergency help sports leadership to refine processes and identify areas for improvement.
Sports fans typically focus on players and coaches when they think about their favorite teams, but success in athletics requires a larger group that includes professionals with managerial and business skills. LSU Online’s Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management combines sports theory with practice, helping students become experts in their fields. Whether managing operations for a sports team or opening an athletics-related business or practice clinic, graduates are equipped with the economic, social, and legal knowledge necessary to succeed. Learn more about how LSU Online prepares students for a wide variety of careers in sports.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health Statistics Reports, “Emergency Department Visits for Injuries Sustained During Sports and Recreational Activities by Patients Aged 5–24 Years, 2010–2016”
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