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Your Opportunity to Shine

Things Happen (they really do)

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In our 10+ years of being open, we can still count on one hand (with fingers left over) how many times we have had to call 911 to this place. The vast majority of our injuries and accidents are minor. HOWEVER, big or small, we must handle every incident with a clear perspective and compassionate hands.

In this session, we are going to go over some basic injuries and how to respond to them. Please read this material carefully and commit yourself to safe practices and responsible handling of things that go wrong. But let's start with THE MOST IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE of accident management. Here it is:

Though not every accident is our fault, every accident is ultimately OUR RESPONSIBILITY.


Let that sink in. A kid is's on us to handle it right. A kid is's on us to handle it right. Messes, vomit, blood,'s on us to handle it right. So let's learn how to do exactly that.

Disclaimer: The following information does not in any way certify a person for medical response of any kind. It is highly recommended that you seek certification in First Aid, CPR, and AED through your local EMS Services or online certification. Online certification is relatively inexpensive, and GAR North will pay for it. This GNU course is simply to help you respond to injuries that are common to gymnastics and related sports. 

Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing

When it comes to injury response, there is so much to consider. The safety and care of the athlete, the emotional stress placed on other athletes or coaches, liability upon GAR North, etc. You will know it all simply as the Four C's: Control Comfort Care Communication Let's hit it!


Stop your class activity and take control of the scene. Kids should be cleared away from the injured athlete so that you and/or another coach can respond to the injury. This can be as simple as closing the station and sending kids to their next rotation. Extremely serious injuries may require calling another coach to assist or even clearing the floor (in the case of compound fractures, serious spinal injuries, etc.). The injured athlete should be comfortable and kept very still as you move into the next phase of injury response.


Give the injured athlete your undivided attention and reassure him/her that you are going to take good care of them. Ask where it hurts. Ask if they are able to move the joint or the neighboring joint. Remind them to breathe through the pain. Holding their breath can lead to worse issues and even heighten the emotions. NEVER EVER EVER: 1. Move an athlete's injured joint or body part for them before they move it on their own. 2. Laugh at an injured athlete in pain. 3. Blame the athlete for the accident (even if it IS their fault). 4. Mock an athlete in pain (e.g. You're fine. Don't be a baby). 5. Declare your own innocense. These reactions show that you are more concerned for YOURSELF than the athlete. And that is NOT the message we want to convey to the athlete in pain or his/her family. Take your time with this. A reassured athlete will be more cooperative and communicative than a scared and confused athlete.


Different injuries require different responses. Let's look at some common ones. WRISTS 1. Have the child sit and cradle his arm in the other arm. 2. Have him point to the exact location of the pain. General pain on the joint itself is more common and generally less concerning (usually a mild sprain). Very sharp pain in a specific location can be a little more concerning. Starting near the elbow, gently press both forearm bones (radius and ulna) and work your way toward the wrist. Lighting up with pain before getting to the wrist can be cause for concern. 3.Use an ice pack and prop up the arm to rest. ANKLES 1. Depending on the severity, either safely move the child to the lobby/office, or isolate the scene. 2. Ask if they remember which way the ankle rolled. Rolling to the outside (more common) is painful, but typically better. 3. Check for his ability to move the joint (he moves it, not you). 4. Check for possible fractures in a similar way to wrist assessment. 5. Ice the joint and elevate. 6. If unable to bear weight, stabilize the joint with an ace bandage or splint. We also have crutches to loan out as well as a tranport chair to help the athlete to their parent's car (do NOT loan out the chair). KNEES 1. Determine if the injury was a landing, a twisting, or a contusion (banged it on something). 2. Look for displacement. If the knee seems out of place, ice, wrap it up and call parents to take to ER. 3. If he/she is able, assist the child up to one foot, and allow him/her to determine if they can bear any weight. 4. No matter the nature of the injury, ice and comfortable position/elevation is your go-to. ARMS 1. Do NOT move the athlete suddenly or roughly handle him/her! 2. Immobilize as best you can. Allow child to cradle his/her own arm. Applying a splint or sling can be tricky. If needed, as a more experienced coach for assistance. 3. Check for isolated pain the way you do with wrists. 4. If no isolated sharp pain, have the child gently demonstrate range of motion and/or slight resistance. 5. Ice and comfort always.

Answer the questions below (yes, you can go back and cheat).

Thanks for doin' it!

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