Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
One of the first lines of defense for catastrophic injuries is having a comprehensive, detailed plan for most catastrophic scenarios. This is commonly referred to as an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). The National Athletic Trainers Association has published a position statement titled “Emergency Planning in Athletics” that provides guidelines for the development and implementation of an EAP and is available online.
An EAP is necessary for any school or university and all of the venues within these institutions where athletes exercise. The EAP provides information to ensure response to an emergency is rapid, appropriate, controlled and precise. All personnel involved with the organization of athletic activities share a professional and legal responsibility to ensure that guidelines are in place to manage any emergency that could arise. The EAP defines the standard of care for these situations, and therefore an institution without an EAP can be found to be negligent in cases of catastrophic injuries.
While being comprehensive, an EAP also needs to be flexible enough to be applicable to any emergency situation. While health care providers are usually responsible for the writing of this document, all those involved with athletic teams (athletic directors, team physicians, athletic trainers, athletic training students, coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, local EMS services) need to be aware and knowledgeable with its contents.