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Health and safety

Photo: Be deaf aware when it comes to health and safety for football

Wearing hearing aids during matches

Hearing aids are at risk of being broken if they fall out of the ear during activity. For this reason, some deaf footballers will choose to play without their hearing aids just in case.

However, others prefer to wear their hearing aids, particularly if they play in mainstream teams, so that they can communicate with team mates.

It is generally accepted that children can use their aids when playing sport, provided they are comfortable and securely fitted. If in doubt, parents should ask for further advice from their audiologist.

It can be worth making the referee aware that there is a player wearing a hearing aid before the match begins. However, official FA guidelines state that it is the player’s and their parent’s choice whether they wear their hearing aids during football matches, and not the referee’s.

Wearing cochlear implants during matches

A cochlear implant consists of two parts: the internal part which includes the receiver and electrode and the external part which includes the microphone and speech processor and the transmitter coil.

The main risk with certain sports is suffering a blow to the head on or around the site of the internal implant which could result in device failure. Although the risk is very small, this could mean that it may become necessary to have repeat surgery to replace the implant.

Safety for cochlear implant users 

Unfortunately The British Cochlear Implant Group (BCIG) cannot continue to provide Safety Guidelines in their current format. BCIG hope to work closely with CI Manufacturers to develop a new safety guidelines resource. At this time we encourage any cochlear implant user to contact the manufacturer of their device for specific information or advice.

Make the referee aware that there is a player using a cochlear implant before the match begins. However, official FA guidelines now state that it is the player’s and their parent’s choice whether they wear the external part of their implant during matches, not the referee’s.

Children who have recently had cochlear implant surgery are advised against playing football until the operation site has fully healed (approximately 6 weeks).

Gaining deaf players’ attention

Football Club Child Protection policies are designed to protect children from potential harm and also to protect the integrity of the adults who look after them. This can be a problem if, as coach of a junior team, you wish to get the attention of a deaf child who has his/her back to you and cannot hear you calling for them.

In order to get the attention of a deaf young person, it is acceptable to do so by tapping them on the shoulder. You can also walk around them until they see your face which enables clearer communication to take place, although it is best to confirm the child’s preferred method beforehand.

It is always wise to ensure that any communication between a coach and players takes place in an appropriate, open environment to protect both the child and the integrity of the coach.

Fire safety

It is essential to be aware that deaf young people may not be able to hear fire alarms. If a fire alarm has gone off, coaches and officials should follow their club fire safety policies and guidelines. Particular care should be given to ensuring that any deaf players under their care are accounted for, such as checking the toilets and changing rooms on site.