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Improving Physical Ability Safety and Welfare

Understanding First Aid and Injury Management

Sports Physiotherapist at Regeneration Physiotherapy Group Curtis Taylor explains how to use PEACE and LOVE to manage injuries that occur during coaching sessions

First aid is used when an individual requires immediate assistance for an injury occurrence or illness, ranging from minor to serious. The primary goal is to preserve and maintain life, if life-threatening, and prevent the conditions from worsening before beginning the early stage to promote recovery.

Remember the 3Ps:

  • Preserve.
  • Prevent.
  • Promote.

It’s important to have someone who is first aid and CPR trained, confident and experienced to ensure these situations are handled correctly.

First aid scenarios are initially approached using DR ABCD:

  • Danger: check for danger in the area that may cause you harm.
  • Response: is the person responsive?
  • Airway: is the person’s airway patent and non-compromised?
  • Breathing: is the person breathing? If not, they will require CPR. If they are breathing, place in recovery position until help arrives.
  • CPR: if the person is not breathing begin CPR.
  • Defibrillator: use a defibrillator if there is one available.

Once it has been established that the case is not life-threatening, a first aider may provide acute treatment, such as:

  • cleaning wounds
  • dressing wounds
  • appropriately immobilising injured areas
  • advising on early management of some injuries.

At this phase, the first aider is focusing on the prevent and promote aspects of the 3 Ps. They are trying to prevent further injury such as infection or caused by moving the injured area and are promoting recovery through appropriate early management advice.

It is important to note that note that first aiders will not be able to make early management recommendations with all first aid/injury situations: this may be required by a health care professional.

Acute to long-term injury management

The management of acute injuries has since been updated since the days of RICE (Rest, Ice, Elevate, Compress) to PEACE and LOVE.

PEACE and LOVE was developed by Blaise Dubois and Jean-Francois Esculier and includes the important elements of psychosocial factors to enhance the recovery process.


Did you know

While anti-inflammatory drugs have the benefits of pain management and function, they are also harmful and delay tissue repair.


Please note: this applies to most musculoskeletal injuries but not all first aid situations or acute injuries are appropriate for this management. If you are unsure, it is important to seek the advice of a health care professional.

Following early management advice, the responsibility is likely to then go to a health care professional (hospital, minor injuries, doctor) to identify further and long-term management as required.

For example, a doctor in the Accident & Emergency Department may refer the patient for assessment and/or X-ray or a physiotherapist for rehabilitation.

The job of the first aider is now complete, and the athlete is in the hands of a professional to oversee recovery.

The second part of the acronym now comes into play to support subsequent and longer-term recovery and progression back to activity and exercise.

The physiotherapist will establish a rehabilitation time frame based on the injury and work through a series of rehabilitation phases known as ‘return to play’ milestones to ensure that the athlete has built sufficient capacity to tolerate a return to their sport.

This will depend on a variety of factors but namely:

  • the type of injury
  • the sport they are returning to.

It is crucial in this phase that the athlete works to build sufficient load tolerance and resilience in the injured limb to cope with the demands of sport and reduce risk of reinjury.

Essentially, just because the athlete has rested, does not have pain, or has been advised that the injury has healed, does not always mean they are ready for a return to sports!

More from the Regeneration Physiotherapy Group

This guide is part of a suite of resources developed in partnership with the Regeneration Physiotherapy Group

Get the other resources

Related Resources

  • Coaching Athletes Returning to Sport After Injury

  • How Coaches Can Help Injured Athletes Return to Play

  • Managing Injuries in Youth Sport


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