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Injury management in sport

You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities. The information below is additional only. 


Sport safety education for students and teachers is an essential part of any injury prevention program.

Education for students can take place through the Health and Physical Education (HPE) key learning area and specific sport programs.

Education for teachers can take place through school training and development activities. The following organisations offer courses in first aid and sports injury management:

Safety frameworks and procedures

Any safety framework developed by a school should include components dealing specifically with injury management, including first aid, transport, treatment, rehabilitation and education to protect against further damage. All safety frameworks and procedures should be applied appropriately during practice or class as well as competition.

Procedures and advice regarding accident prevention and injury treatment should outline:

  • The immediate treatment of injury, and/or appropriate referral;
  • Contact persons or centres for injury treatment ;
  • The responsibilities and the role of the teacher in first aid ;
  • The treatment of major vs minor injuries;
  • Accident reports and records of accidents, including appropriate referral body; and
  • The location and availability of medical kits for all sport fields and other locations.  

Personal protective equipment

An important part of any sports safety framework is to educate players, parents, coaches, trainers and officials in the appropriate use of protective equipment, including selection, maintenance, proper fit and adjustment.

Any protective gear or equipment should be frequently inspected and replaced if worn, damaged or outdated. Protective gear should be worn during practice sessions as well as during competition.

Individual sports may have requirements for specific equipment – see the Specific Sports and Physical Activity Guidelines.

In particular, please note that NSW Health, Sports Medicine Australia, Australian Dental Association and Dental Health Foundation Australia recommend the wearing of custom-made mouthguards for participants involved in training and competition games in sports where collisions with opponents and sporting equipment is likely to occur. Further information is available at the Australian Dental Association's Mouthguard Awareness Campaign website.

Warm-up and warm-down

Warm-ups should include activities that use the same movement patterns as the activities to be performed during the session. Warm-up exercises should begin at a low intensity and gradually increase to the level required in the activity. The warm-up aims to:

  • Raise the temperature in muscles and increase circulation around the joints
  • Increase oxygen delivery to the muscles so that they are available for more vigorous activity
  • Prepare the mind and body for the activity.

The warm-down involves exercises that decrease the heart rate and body temperature. Participants should do a warm down at the end of every activity session, consisting of:

  • Activity of significantly reduced intensity, such as 2-3 mins of easy jogging or walking
  • Gentle stretching exercises that move the muscle through the full range of movement and include all muscle groups that were used in the activity.

Training and conditioning

Appropriately structured training and conditioning programs are significant factors in injury prevention. In developing specific training and conditioning programs for students, coaches and instructors will need to consider:

  • The maturity, capacity and age of the participants;
  • The physiological requirements of the activity;
  • The physiological capabilities of the individual participants, including existing injuries;
  • The level of competition and nature of the activity; and
  • The participants' playing positions.

Coaches should undertake regular updates in injury prevention, injury recognition, first aid and basic life support principles. Schools are encouraged to incorporate coaching accreditation for teachers in the school's professional learning plans. Coaching accreditation courses are coordinated by the National Sporting Organisations and accredited through the Australian Coaching Council or state sporting bodies.


Rules and the way they are implemented by game officials are a key approach to injury prevention in sport. The application of appropriate sanctions for infringements of the rules which may lead to injury is an effective injury prevention strategy.

Administrators of inter-school competitions are encouraged to use accredited umpires and referees. Zone sport coordinators are encouraged to arrange coaching and officiating accreditation courses for teachers officiating at inter-school competitions.

Rule modification for juniors

Those involved in the development of injury prevention strategies should understand the difference between child and adult athletes in skill, strength and coordination skills. Modified sport programs contribute to the reduction of injuries.

Successful modifications to sports include changes to

  • Size, weight or style of equipment
  • Playing area and goals
  • Length of games and(or) season
  • Team sizes and interchanges (rotation) policy
  • Relaxation of technical or complicated rules.

Sports first aid

It is the primary role of the sports trainer to improve the safety of sport by assisting with injury prevention measures such as taping, checking protective equipment, providing initial injury management on the field and referring injuries, as necessary, to a more qualified health professional.

Schools may seek to have members of the school community trained in sport first aid courses. Courses are conducted by Sports Medicine Australia NSW via the Safer Sport Program.

More information is available on the First Aid page on the Health and Safety website.

Student concussion

In previous years, concussion has come to be regarded as a more serious condition. It is important to remember that even what may appear to be a mild bump to the head may cause a concussion. See Concussion for more information.

Parental or caregiver notification

Parents or caregivers must be notified as soon as possible of any injury incurred by a school student less than 18 years of age. The notification of parents or caregivers will ideally be given by the Principal of the school, provided this is appropriate in the circumstances. A notification should include the following:

  • Confirmation that the student has been involved in an accident, and a description of the nature of the accident;
  • Details of any injuries sustained by a student; and
  • Details of the action taken following the accident, e.g. first aid or calling an ambulance.