Coaches Corner

How to Deal with Medical Emergencies During Sessions

23 May 2022

Emergencies and accidents can happen to anyone and you cannot predict them. However, as a coach, you should always know how to help a person during a training session. If you are not sure about it, this article is for you.

What if someone fainted or started to suffocate right in front of you? Would you know what to do? If you have a coaching business, you need to be very wary of medical emergencies. If someone pushes themselves too hard, it can lead to things like heart attacks. And even a moment of carelessness while lifting heavy weights could lead to injury and even death.

As a sports coach, you have to know how to handle emergencies and which preventive care to take ahead of time. Not so sure if you can do that? Keep reading to discover how to handle sports injuries and other major emergencies!

What Medical Emergencies Are Likely To Happen?

Sports activities always mean a workout for different muscle groups. The most widely spread injuries during training are muscle pulls or strains, sprained ankles, shoulder injuries, tendonitis, wrist sprain or relocation. However, things may get even worse.

When someone is deadlifting, they may lose control. This can result in unforgettably-painful pectoral tearing. Alternatively, someone curling too hard may experience a bicep tendon rupture. And a moment's carelessness on the bench press can lead to a nasty sternum fracture.

These are just a few injuries that are likely to happen. These injuries would be pretty severe even if they happened to a young, healthy person. But if an older and/or out-of-shape person experiences a serious injury, it can lead to potentially-fatal reactions.

Fortunately, our tips below tell you everything you need to know to handle fitness emergencies when they happen.


Prevent the injury before it happens

We all know that it is easier to prevent a disease than to cure it. The same rule applies to workout injuries. Your clients may be very excited and motivated to do more and push themselves to their limits. But such excitement may lead to carelessness and traumas in the end. So it is your duty, as a sports coach, to control the training process and your clients' behaviour.

Do warm-ups and cool-downs

Every training should start with warm-up exercises and end with cool-down periods. Do not neglect them as they help to prepare the body for training or relax its muscles. Read about warm-up exercises you can use during training sessions here.

Do stretching after exercises

Stretching helps increase body flexibility and prevent cramps. This is especially important for those, who train in water.

Diversify your training program

Do not overuse one set of muscles as it may lead to muscle strains or other injuries. Build your program so that your clients could do exercises for different muscle groups.

Adjust the training program to each client

Sometimes your clients may not tell you that they are not feeling well or that the training is too intense for them. So you should keep an eye on everything your client does and always ask how he/she feels. That is why it is important to build trustful relationships with people you train. 


Remind your clients to:

Drink water

While training it is important to keep the body hydrated. Remind your clients to drink at least 8 ounces of water 20-30 min before the training, 8 ounces during the training and 8 ounces afterwards. You cannot control your trainees before or after training so they must remember this rule.

Dress right

Many kinds of sport require special protective equipment. If you need it, make sure your trainee knows how to wear it properly, because this is his/her armour. If you don’t need a helmet or knee pads, for example, make sure that your client is dressed comfortably and has a good pair of shoes.


The human body needs at least 1-2 days off per week to recover and you must explain it to the client. Of course, many of them want quick results but they shouldn’t hurt themselves training overtime. 

In case of injury

Call For Help

Whenever you suspect a medical emergency is happening, it's important to call for help immediately. 

No matter how well you are trained you are not a doctor so do not try to solve the issue by yourself. Even if you can revive someone with CPR, they are going to need medical care and monitoring to ensure their continued health.

In unpredicted situations, it is common for people to freeze up. Even if you know what to do, you may stumble for a few seconds, but other people might react. So you have to develop a reflex to draw other people’s attention if something goes wrong.


Set Up Simple Protocols

To act immediately you can memorise your actions in case of emergency in the form of an acronym.

For example, one popular protocol is called STOP. The acronym STOP stands for:

S – STOP all activity

T – TALK to the injured client

O – OBSERVE their overall health

P – PREVENT further injury.

When learned, this protocol helps you develop a set course of actions to be applied quickly and in any situation. Another protocol is called RICE and stands for:

R – REST the injury

I – ICE the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding and inflammation

C – Apply a COMPRESSION bandage

E – Elevate the injury, if possible

You can think about your own set of actions and transform them into a simple acronym.

Memorise Warning Signs

Sometimes, medical emergencies are easy to spot. For example, if someone is bleeding after an incident, or screaming after dropping weights, you can reasonably assume something has happened.

However, other warning signs are a bit more subtle. Someone complaining about minor chest pains, for example, could be having a heart attack. And someone struggling to form words is most likely having a stroke!

Be prepared to perform CPR

When someone needs serious medical help, then it's important to get treatment sooner rather than later. Here is what you have to do in case of a heart attack:

  • Call an ambulance
  • Give the client an aspirin
  • Give him nitro-glycerine, if prescribed
  • Begin CPR, if the person is unconscious
  • Use an automated external defibrillator, if available

Read more on the Mayo Clinic website.

If somebody has a stroke:

  • Call an ambulance immediately
  • Note the time you first saw the symptoms
  • Perform CPR, if necessary

Read more on the Penn Medicine website

Become a coach at Sport Session

Now you know how to respond to medical emergencies that may happen during your training sessions. Do you want to know more? Here at Sport Session, we help sports coaches expand clientele and build their coaching careers.

Ready to promote your brand like never before? Become a Sport Session coach today!

Name your sporting or fitness goal - we'll help you smash it. Personal Training, Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, Boxing and SO MUCH MORE. With an irresistible 30% OFF your first session!


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