Safety and Risk Assessment

Quick revise

After studying this section you should understand the following

There are many ways of staying safe whilst taking part in sport. Its important to make sure you are using the correct technique, wearing the correct types of clothing, have warmed up and cooled down, and are playing by the rules.

Many sport have protective clothing that should be worn when playing. In football, shin pads are expected to be worn, mouth guards in hockey and rugby.

There are also many rules in the sports that are there purely for health and safety reasons. No two-footed tackling in football, no tackling above the neck in rugby, no contact in netball.

Chronic and Acute Injuries

There are 2 different types of injury you can get from sport:

1. Chronic

  • Caused by continuous stress on a certain body part over a long period of time by overuse
  • e.g. Tennis players can develop tennis elbow (an inflammation of the tendons in the elbow due to overuse of certain arm muscles)
  • e.g. Long distance runners can develop shin splints (a bone injury in the front of the leg)
  • Risks of this type of injury can be training too hard, not enough rest, poor footwear or bad technique

2. Acute

  • Caused by sudden stress on a body part, such as a fracture, pulled muscle or concussion
  • Can occur by colliding with an opponent, being hit by something or falling from a height or with speed.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Open injuries occur when the skin is broken, usually allowing blood to escape

Closed injuries happen under the skin

  • Bruising – damage to blood vessels
  • Strained (pulled) muscles – tears in tissues, caused by overstretching
  • Sprains – joint injuries, where the ligament has been stretched or torn
  • Dislocation – joint injuries, where the bone is pulled out of its usual position
  • Cartilage – can be torn by violent impact such as twisting

Hard Tissue Injuries

Fractures are either cracks in the bone or an actual break. These can be open or closed. In an open fracture, the bone breaks the skin; in a closed fracture, it happens under the skin.

Fractures are usually accompanied by bruising and swelling around the injured area, because the blood vessels are damaged there

They are also painful because of the damaged nerves inside the bone.

A stress fracture is a crack along the length of the bone, which is caused by continuous stress over a long period of time.

Injury examples and treatments


  • Symptoms – temperature increases, weak pulse, results from over exercising and dehydration
  • Treatment – lie patient in cool place, give them liquids


  • Symptoms – temperature falls too low, muscles go rigid, irregular heart beat
  • Treatment – raise temperature, wrap in warm, dry clothing, hot drinks


  • Symptoms – involuntary contraction of muscles, caused by lack of salt in the blood, or lack of blood flowing to the muscle
  • Treatment – stretch the muscle, massaging it gently


  • Symptoms – difficulty in breathing, pain in the abdomen
  • Treatment – lean forward, rub affected area


  • Symptoms – pale, clammy skin, fast, weak pulse, feel dizzy, thirsty, or sick
  • Treatment – call ambulance


  • Symptoms – unconsciousness, memory loss, sick
  • Treatment – call ambulance


  • Symptoms – sharp pain in abdomen
  • Treatment – stop exercising, take deep breaths, breath out slowly

Injury Prevention

  • Take off any jewellery
  • Use the right equipment
  • Be aware of possible dangers
  • Use correct technique
  • Warm up before activity
  • Know and follow the rules
  • Wear suitable footwear
  • Use protective equipment if necessary
  • Use officials to ensure fair play
  • Cool down after activity
  • Give yourself time to recover before playing again.


This is a good treatment for all soft tissue injuries. It reduces pain, swelling and bruising.

R – rest. Stop straight away. If you carry on it will make the injury worse

I – ice. Apply ice to the injury. This makes the blood vessels contract to reduce the bleeding and swelling

C – compression. Wrapping the injury will also help to reduce the swelling, but don’t make it so tight that the blood is prevented from circulating

E – elevation. Support the injury at a raised level (above the heart), so the flow of blood is reduced because it has to flow against gravity