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Frequently Asked Questions - First Aid

Please scroll down for the answers to the following questions. For any other queries, please contact health@rfu.com.

What are the minimum requirements for first aid at a club? 
I want to be our U15s first aider - what do I need to do?
Are our volunteers insured for providing first aid cover?
Can children play rugby with glasses on?
One of our players needs to wear a hearing aid, can he still play?
What protective kit can players wear?
How soon can we select a player who has been concussed?
I think blades are dangerous - are they allowed?
What injuries should we report to the RFU and how do we do this?


Q. What are the minimum requirements for first aid at a club?

A. The regulations state that there must always be access for an ambulance or other emergency vehicles wherever the game is played. There must also be access to a telephone to ensure emergency assistance can be called immediately.

The exact requirements for any club will vary greatly with location and facilities and will also depend on the people taking part and the activity taking place. Requirements should therefore be decided upon as part of a thorough risk assessment.

The RFU recommends that a first aider is present at all matches and training sessions, the club is responsible for checking that the qualifications of these people are up to date and are appropriate for the task(s) they are responsible for. These tasks will vary depending on the level of training that a first aider has (e.g. appointed person or first aid at work trained).

A suitable appointed person's course with 6 hours of tuition time and specific modules tailored for coaches and volunteers within rugby is available from the RFU. Further details are available on the first aid course pages, including a list of suggested contents for a first aid kit. The club's first aider or medical officer is responsible for ensuring that any equipment is kept appropriately. Equipment such as spinal boards and defibrillators should only be used by appropriately qualified people.

Q. I want to be our U15s first aider - what do I need to do?

A. Firstly make sure you hold an appropriate first aid qualification. This could be an appointed person's award, a "first aid at work" qualification or other emergency aid certificate from an accredited awarding body. The RFU offer a Sports first aid course that can be run at your local club - just ask your local Rugby Development officer for details or look at the first aid course pages.

You must also ensure that you have all the relevant CRB checks as you will be working with children - your club's welfare or child protection officer will be able to help you with this.

Once you have completed these, your club can appoint you for specific matches and training sessions ensuring you are covered by the club's insurance policy.

Q. Are our volunteers insured for providing first aid cover?

A. Yes, a suitably qualified volunteer who has been appointed by an insured club as their medical attendant will be insured to practice first aid to the limits of their training by the standard RFU insurance, and have the same public liability cover as referees and coaches. Obviously they should not attempt any treatment that they have not been trained for, and it is the club's responsibility to check the qualifications of any such volunteers (ask to see certificates, obtain any relevant CRB checks, encourage refresher training when appropriate etc).

Professional medical staff are not included in this cover and should have their own indemnity and insurance before being appointed by a club.

For any further insurance enquiries, please contact the RFU insurers Marsh on 01732 877 647, or refer to the insurance pages of this website

Q. Can children play rugby with glasses on?

A. As you may be aware, the RFU and Constituent Bodies have received a number of complaints over the last season relating to the prohibition on sports goggles in all contact rugby at all ages. Discussions and considerable efforts have therefore been taking place internally for some time and the RFU has been liaising closely with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians to develop a practical solution to provide a wider degree of flexibility to enable great social inclusion in rugby union.

The RFU has therefore decided to introduce in England a trial that would enable the wearing of certain sport goggles (dispensed under professional supervision) by players playing contact rugby at the Under 13 age grade and below. This trial is a variation of the RFU’s current regulations, which prohibits all types of goggles to be worn in contact rugby.

Whilst for the most part the trial will not take full hold until next season, the RFU recognises that some players may be in a position to adhere to the conditions of the trial in this current season. If this is the case, the RFU sees no reason why such players should be prevented from participating in the trial this season, provided all of the trial conditions are satisfied.

To this end, the trial will commence with immediate effect and will last until the end of the 2014-15 season, whereupon the position will be reviewed further.

Conditions of the trial

The trial will permit players playing contact rugby at the Under 13 age grade and below to wear specially designed and manufactured sports goggles subject to the following conditions (all of which must be met):

  • (a) The sports goggles must be dispensed by a registered dispensing optician who is a member of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians* (ABDO)
  • (b) The player must have written confirmation from the ABDO dispensing optician that the sports goggles:
    • i. Are required to correct the vision of the player or are required to protect the player’s eyes due to a medical condition, to enable the playing of rugby union; and
    • ii. Do not substantially restrict any normal field of vision and are suitable for use in evasion contact sports; and
    • iii. Do not constitute a physical danger to the player or other players
  • (c) The match referee is entitled to object to the player wearing the sports goggles if the referee reasonably believes that they are unsafe
  • (d) Clubs must notify the RFU Legal Officer of all players participating in the trial by emailing AlysLewis@rfu.com 
  • (e) Clubs must report any injuries caused as a result of the sports goggles to the RFU Community Medical Team by emailing sportsinjuriesadmin@therfu.com and the player’s parents must report the injury to the ABDO dispensing optician who prescribed the goggles

*If an optician is registered with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the optician will be listed on the General Optical Council’s list of registered members, which is available at www.optical.org. Please check the list by inserting the name of the individual optician or opticians' practice. 

Queries

Should you have any queries or require further clarification and guidance in relation to the proposed trial, please contact your local Constituent Body or Alys Lewis on AlysLewis@rfu.com.

Q. One of our players needs to wear a hearing aid, can he still play?

A. The RFU has been in contact with the England Deaf Rugby Union (EDRU, www.englanddeafrugby.com) to discuss a future policy on the wearing of hearing aids and cochlear implants. EDRU are seeking the views of the National Deaf Sports Council and the Deaf Association and the other Nations' Deaf Rugby Governing Bodies to ensure that we have a consensus. As hearing aids contravene the IRB's law 4 we recommend that they are removed prior to playing. For players of Continuum age, dispensations can sometimes be made for players in this situation; we would suggest that parental consent for the player's participation is gained as well as specialist advice on the most appropriate hearing aid.

Whilst we want to be as inclusive as possible, we have to bear in mind the risk of injury to the payer wearing the aid and other players from contact with the device and broken devices.

Both the RFU's coaching dept and the refereeing departments are also always looking to develop guidelines and help coaches access appropriate training to help them coach players with specific needs.

Useful links:

UK Deaf Sport (www.ukdeafsport.org.uk/)
Sports Coach UK (www.sportscoachuk.org/)  

Q. What protective kit can players wear?

A. The RFU strongly recommend that mouthguards are worn for any contact rugby sessions - it is also recommended that such mouthguards should be custom fitted.

There are cheaper alternatives available such as "boil in the bag" or pre-moulded mouthguards but the reduced level of fit and protection offered should be considered when making a decision.

Mouthguards are compulsory for all school players involved in rugby activities above school level (County, Division and England Representative Squads)

The IRB has regulations about the type of kit that can be worn and approved suppliers for head guards, shoulder pads and women's protective clothing which can be found at http://www.irb.com/lawregulations/index.html.

Q. How soon can we select a player who has been concussed?

A. Players with suspected concussion must go through a graded Return to Play Protocol with medical practitioner clearance before a return to play

 

For further advice please refer to the concussion guidelines section of this website.

Q. I think blades are dangerous - are they allowed?

Blades and studs are currently both acceptable as footwear for rugby (as long as they comply with the IRB regulations below). There is not currently a kite mark for rugby boots; manufacturers self certify their studs or blades against regulation 12 to check that they cause no more damage than traditional studs.

The RFU is working with the IRB and the British Standards Institute on this matter to ensure safety standards are appropriate for the game, in the meantime Referees should always check footwear for any sharp or dangerous parts before kick-off in a match.

IRB Regulations and advice to clubs:

BOOTS (including ‘Blades’) - LAW 4

LAW 4 deals with players’ clothing - which includes footwear.

LAW 4(3) deals with studs as follows:

(a)   Studs of players’ boots must conform with the IRB Specification set out in IRB Regulation 12.

(b)   Moulded rubber multi-studded soles are acceptable provided they have no sharp edges or ridges.

LAW 4(4) deals with BANNED ITEMS OF CLOTHING and this includes:

(b)  A player must not wear any item that is sharp or abrasive.

(h)  A player must not wear any item that is normally permitted by Law, but in the referee’s opinion that is liable to cause injury to a player.

(i)  A player must not wear a single stud at the toe of the boot.

LAW 4(5) deals with INSPECTION OF PLAYERS’ CLOTHING and this includes:

The referee or the touch judges appointed by or under the authority of the match organiser inspect the players’ clothing and studs for conformity to this Law.

The referee has power to decide at any time, before or during the match, that part of a player’s clothing is dangerous or illegal. If the referee decides that clothing is dangerous or illegal the referee must order the player to remove it. The player must not take part in the match until the items of clothing are removed.

COMMENT

All studs worn must comply with Law 4.

The IRB has contacted all known manufacturers of boots (irrespective of whether or not they are specifically made for rugby use) and this includes manufacturers of ‘blades’. These manufacturers are required by the IRB to self certify that their studs comply with Law 4.

‘Blades’ include Adidas Exchangeable Traxion Studs.

Referees and touch judges will inspect boots only to check that they are safe to play in. They will check that there are no sharp edges or burring etc.

Referees and touch judges will not be looking for kite marks or similar approval markings or manufacturers details.

ADVICE:

Players must always:

  • Check that their studs are safe to play in Reject any boots that have sharp edges or burring etc.
  • Ask their retailer for confirmation that the manufacturer complies with IRB Specifications.
  • The final responsibility is with the players to ensure that they play in safe boots.

Q. What injuries should we report to the RFU and how do we do this?

A. The RFU asks that clubs report the following types of injury to them whenever they occur:

  • An injury which results in the player being admitted to a hospital (this does not include those that attend an Accident or Emergency Department and are allowed home form there).
  • Deaths which occur during or within 6 hours of a game finishing.

This will enable the RFU to offer support and practical help to the injured player, their family and club as soon as possible.

To report an injury, complete the form at [link to injury reporting] and return to the sports injuries administrator, RFU, Rugby House, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW1 1DS or sportsinjuriesadmin@therfu.com. You can also report an injury any time by calling 0800 298 0102.  

In the event of a visiting player being injured, or an injury occurring at an away ground, please liaise with the opposition club's representative to ensure all relevant details are noted and that the report is completed and sent.

Other injuries should be reported in a club's accident book, samples of which can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive's website (www.hse.gov.uk). Please take care to comply with the Data Protection Act (www.ico.gov.uk) and respect medical confidentiality.

     

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