GUide to deal with injuries
The Powers and Duties of the Referee listed in Law 5, state that the Referee is responsible, and has a duty to stop the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play. An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted.
The Referee can also allow play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in his opinion, only slightly injured. It is his duty to ensure that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the Referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
One development area surprisingly deficient in many football/soccer Referees' capabilities, is a standard process for dealing with injury situations on the field of play. Invariably, the Referee (in good faith) deals with each situation with the health and safety of the injured player paramount. But very often, there is little (or no) thought given, to proactively preventing eager trainers from rushing onto the field of play. Sensible positioning by the Referee (whilst inspecting the injury) is also sometimes missing. The Referee has a duty to monitor all of the players, and not just the one who is injured. Another worrying aspect is the amount of times that the Referee wanders away from the injury location, to have friendly conversation with the other players whilst the injury is being dealt with. Without a set process to consider, it is also not surprising, that on some occasions, the Referee forgets to ask the treated player to leave the field of play, and to await a signal to re-enter at a suitable time after play has been restarted. The advice shown here, encourages Referees to use a set process for managing injuries. Whilst the advice may differ from that used in other countries, it is not meant as a definitive guide, but as a basis for improving the process used when dealing with injury situations. Also included, is a selection of relevant information included in official publications.
Making contact with the trainers/medical staff before the game starts:
Prior to kick-off, the Referee (and Assistant Referees) should try and make contact with the team trainers (or medical staff) and remind them to await the Referee's signal before entering the field of play when an injury occurs. The Referee should demonstrate the outstretched beckoning arm/palm signal that he will be using to summon the trainers/medical staff onto the field of play to assess an injury. The trainers/medical staff should be reminded that if it is possible to safely remove an injured player, treatment should not be applied on the field of play. But that the players' health and safety must always be paramount.
SERIOUS YES OR NO??
Some examples of serious injury that can occur to a player in a game of football/soccer are:
Should the Referee allow a dirty sponge or dirty bucket of water to be used?
The S.ER.I.O.U.S. (a standard process for dealing with injuries in the field of play.)
Serious?(The first consideration is to decide if an injury is serious or not.)
Evaluate? (Evaluate each injury situation as it arises. Does play need to be stopped?)
Race. (Sprinting to the scene of the injury).
Inspect. (Taking up a position that allows inspection of the injury and monitoring the remaining players).
Organise. (Taking charge, positioning and seeking medical assistance if it is required).
Usher. (Overseeing the safe removal of injured players).
Start. (Starting the game again after the injury has been seen to).
Serious? (The first consideration is to decide if an injury is serious or not.)
o (ii) when a goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need immediate attention;
o (iii) when a severe injury has occurred e.g. swallowed tongue, concussion, broken leg etc.
If the injury is serious: For example, if the injury is to the head or neck or is a serious bleeding injury, broken bones, concussion, torn ligaments, or involves breathing difficulties, the Referee should stop play and summon the trainer/medical staff immediately.
What is serious injury?