As an instructor you will need to be first aid trained. This will be a requirement of your insurance and is possibly also required by your venue and/or your association. Even if it was not a requirement it makes sense for you to know basic first aid. You will be responsible for a group of people when running your classes and it will be you that they look to if an emergency situation occurs or if somebody suffers an injury. It is also a useful life skill to have for outside of the training studio.
First aid is emergency treatment given to an injured or sick person before professional medical care is available. This means that you are making the injured or sick person comfortable and attending to any immediate injury until paramedics arrive. For minor injuries there may be no need for further medical care or if it is required, but not immediately, you can fix the casualty up in such a way that they are able to leave the studio and attend a casualty department or visit a GP surgery themselves.
There are many different first aid course providers which offer a whole variety of courses which can range from the very basic to extremely comprehensive. These can range from a few hours to days long and the price can vary a lot too. It might be worth you talking to your employer to see if they would be willing to send you on a first aid course. It is a legal requirement for workplaces to have a registered first aider and it could be an opportunity to get sent on a course without having to pay from your own pocket.
One of the biggest suppliers of courses nationally in the UK is the St John Ambulance and this is who I did my training with. They offer a number of courses that are suitable for Martial Arts instructors two of which I have summarised below. Check with your insurance, venue and association if there are any specific requirements with regards First Aid training but if not then pick the one which you think suits your needs most.
Sports First Aid – This is aimed at anyone involved in sporting activities – from referees and coaches to players and gives training on the types of injuries or medical emergencies that can occur whilst doing sport . So it is ideal for a martial arts instructor and will give you the necessary first aid skills to deal with a whole range of sporting injuries. The course includes coverage of the following;
• Bone, muscle and joint injuries
• Burns and scalds
• Chest pains
• Communication and casualty care
• Emergencies in public
• Head injury
• Extremes of heat and cold
• Primary survey
• The role of the first aider
• Sprains and strains
• The unconscious casualty.
This is a 6 hour course and can be more expensive than some of the less comprehensive courses but it does specifically cover most of the types of injuries that may unfortunately occur in the training studio.
Basic First Aid – This course teaches the very basic everyday skills required to give first aid when minor accidents happen. This course does not cover resuscitation.
• Communication and casualty care
• Looking after yourself and the casualty
• Treatment of minor bleeding and minor burns
• Treatment of an unconscious casualty
• Priorities of first aid and managing the scene
• Treatment of a choking casualty
• Treatment of fainting, bites and stings, sprains and strains.
This is the least expensive option but still gives you enough skills to be able to treat you students should they have a minor injury in the training studio.
Others – Other courses offered include essential first aid, basic and essential first aid and activity first aid. These courses all offer elements that would be useful for a martial arts instructor with a group of students.
First Aid Equipment
If your venue has a well-stocked first aid box then ask the owner if you are free to use the items in it if a situation occurs. Make sure you know where to get the box from and if it is under lock and key make sure that you have access to the key. If you do not have access to the venue’s first aid equipment then you will need to get a hold of one yourself. This should contain sticking plasters, adhesive tape, bandages, antiseptic wipes and possibly heat and ice packs for muscular injuries. A good example of a well-stocked box can be seen by clicking here. You can get these from Amazon, Ebay, high street chemists or even supermarkets.
Make sure that you know of any pre-existing conditions that your students may suffer from. For my club I have a new student data sheet which I use for anybody coming to train with us. On this sheet I have a question about medical conditions so I know about anything I need to right at the start. This could be things like asthma, allergies, diabetes etc. For younger students you will want to get consent from their parent or guardian to administer first aid to their child. An example of my new student data sheet can be found by clicking this link. New Student Data Sheet template
If you get yourself trained up, have the right emergency equipment on hand and know of any potential issue with your students then you should be well equipped to deal with most emergencies that could occur in the training hall.
Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net