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IRFU Launches First Aid Programme

IRFU Launches First Aid Programme

The Irish Rugby Football Union has announced details of a new First Aid programme directed at clubs and schools throughout Ireland.

The new programme was developed to formally address the needs of clubs and schools in relation to the provision of general First Aid and also Basic Life Support (BLS), primarily the use of AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) to complement the First Aid provisions already in place in clubs and schools.

The issue of sudden cardiac death in sport was the subject of a recent government report* and the new IRFU programme follows the recommendations of the task force report in relation to the provision of First Aid. The Irish Heart Foundation were important particpants in the development of the Task Force recommendations.

The IRFU, in partnership with established medical company Hibernian Healthcare, will be offering clubs and schools access to the programme at a discounted rate to allow them to establish First Aid support networks in each club and, if needed, the purchase of an AED.

The programme concentrates on the training aspect of First Aid and using AEDs rather then purely on the delivery of AED units as the IRFU consider the training in techniques of life support as a priority for clubs and schools.

Hibernian Healthcare have asssisted the IRFU with a number of initiatives to date including provision of BLS and AED training for Head Office administrative staff, provision of rugby First Aid training to professional players and coaching staff in the provinces and provision of more advanced training for doctors and physiotherapists involved with the IRFU. 

The two main components of the new First Aid programme are:

 General Injury Care/First Aid: This deals with all of the important issues related to injuries that might occur on the field of play. Most commonly these injuries will be cuts, bruises and strains but rarely, more serious injuries will occur. The training required to manage different injury scenarios will be dealt with in this part of the programme. Six individuals, which may include players, club officers, referees and ordinary members, in each club will be trained with this basic degree of First Aid. The programme includes ongoing training and support to maintain this basic level of First Aid expertise.

 Basic Life Support/AED Use: The second component of the programme deals with the more serious and rare situation when the skills of BLS and training in the use of AEDs are needed. This component will train six individuals in each club to an Irish Heart Foundation accreditation level of training. The programme includes the ongoing training and support required to maintain these skills. 

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Information Booklet (Dowonload pdf)

IRFU Medical Director Dr. Conor McCarthy said: “The Irish Rugby Football Union has always been committed to make participation in the game of rugby as safe as possible. This programme highlights the need for an accessible and certified programme to meet the needs of rugby players, teams, administrators and clubs. 

“This programme is directed at the delivery of training as paramount in the provision of medical support as well as the availability of medical equipment such as AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators).

“While cardiac events are extremely rare in sport, the need to be prepared for this possibility is important. The programmes ultimate aim is that all rugby clubs in Ireland will have the necessary individuals trained in rugby First Aid to allow ongoing safe particpation for all their club members,” he added.

Managing Director of Hibernian Healthcare, Alan Moran said: “Hibernian Healthcare has put together the most comprehensive AED support package in Ireland and this is very much focused on First Aid and Life Support training. We are offering a high level of ongoing support to rugby clubs and affiliated schools, and we are delighted to work with the IRFU which is committed to providing the safest possible participation environment for its members,”

The programme is available immediately and any clubs and schools wishing to avail of the service should contact their local Provincial Domestic Game Manager or the IRFU directly for details.


*The report of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death – Reducing the risk: A Strategic Approach

Summary of Elements


Provision of an Automatic External defibrillator (AED)

Heartsaver AED Training for 6 (1/2 day)

Rugby First Aid Training for 6 (1/2 day)

Course handbook and DVD

IHF course completion card

First Responder Certificate

Spare pad/battery pack

First Responder pack

7 year warranty

Counselling following AED use

Replacement AED within 24 hours

AED guidelines and protocols

Replacement pad/battery packs

Insurance for First Responders

Refresher training (every 6 mths)

Re-certification training (2 yrs)