The charity is urging footballers to learn vital first aid skills.
With an estimated 1.9 million people taking part in football at least once a week in England, the British Red Cross is calling on football players, clubs and coaches to learn the essential skills needed to act in an emergency.
The call comes as part of the charity’s #UpYourGame campaign which hopes to encourage an increasingly active British public to learn first aid.
New research revealed by the charity today shows that 89% of footballers think sports people have a responsibility to look after each other, yet almost half (43%) would not have the confidence to help their team-mates in a first aid emergency.
The research revealed a significant gap between footballers who have learnt first aid and those who haven’t. Of those who had learnt first aid, 65% reported that they would feel confident and willing to help in a first aid emergency, yet this figure dropped to only 28% when players had not learnt first aid.
Sir Trevor Brooking CBE, the former West Ham and England legend, recently learnt first aid with the Red Cross, and is a supporter of the campaign. He said: “If someone is injured it’s always better to be prepared and have the confidence to act. Learning first aid with the British Red Cross gives you basic skills that can have a real impact.
“Taking part in this first aid session brought back the stark memory of watching the match when Fabrice Muamba had a cardiac arrest on the pitch. Fabrice was so lucky that he had trained medical professionals around him who helped to save his life. At a community level this often isn’t the case.
“Having learnt first aid it’s really made me realise how important it is to know what to do when any injury happens.”
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The campaign includes a series of videos that celebrate sportspeople helping in a first aid emergency. One of these films features a footballer who helps his team-mate when he hits his head during a friendly game of football.
Some 14% of those surveyed said they had witnessed at close hand someone who had sustained a head injury while playing football. Despite this, over half (51%) said they would not have the confidence to help someone in this situation.
Joe Mulligan, head of first aid education at The British Red Cross said: “Nothing should stand in the way of someone pursuing their much-loved sporting activity. But injuries and accidents do happen from time to time.
“We want to enable people to feel confident and willing to help anyone when faced with a first aid emergency. Learning first aid helps to increase confidence levels and we believe it’s a life skill everyone should have.
“The benefits of first aid are well recognised and our new #UpYourGame campaign hopes to encourage an active British public to incorporate first aid learning into their sporting routine.”
The British Red Cross is calling on footballers to watch and share the #UpYourGame video and visit redcross.org.uk/sportsfirstaid for free first aid advice for footballers.
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