The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union is offering rugby-specific first aid courses, in conjunction with New Zealand Rugby and the Rugby Smart Programme.

The First Aid in Rugby (FAIR) courses are for those interested in gaining rugby specific first aid skills and will be held in Tauranga, Whakatane and Rotorua in April and May.

The course is open to anyone in the rugby community and will be delivered by experienced practitioners with rugby expertise. It will give participants a world rugby recognised FAIR qualification and provide skills to immediately help an injured player.

The course is made up of an online pre-course theory component and a hands-on practical session taken by specialist educators. A selection of topics will be covered including head and spinal injury, CPR, bleeding and shock, limb injury and airway breathing, choking and circulation.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union operations manager Neil Alton said it was a positive step towards clubs providing a safer environment for their players.

"We hope the initiative will increase the capacity of our clubs to manage their games in a safer environment.

"With the increased emphasis on health and safety, the course helps clubs to provide immediate care to injured players until an ambulance arrives.

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"Some of the venues where rugby is played are a long distance from ambulance bases and has meant long waits for an ambulance to arrive. We also recognise the ambulance service is under pressure and if the FAIR course can help clubs to better deal with accidents in the first instance that is a real positive," Alton said.

On completion of the course to the required standard, the participant will receive a FAIR qualification certificate and a FAIR kit bag which includes basic equipment used on the course, sponsored by USL Medical.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's long-term goal is to have a qualified FAIR first-aider at every club rugby game within the Bay of Plenty.

First Aid in Rugby course details
Whakatane
Date: Sunday, April 15
Time: 8.30am-5.30pm
Location: Little John Pavilion, Rugby Park

Tauranga
Date: Sunday, April 22
Time: 8.30am-5.30pm
Location: Bay of Plenty Rugby Union, 52 Miro St

Rotorua
Date: Sunday, May 20
Time: 8.30am-5.30pm
Location: Rotorua International Stadium

Registrations
www.rugbysmart.co.nz/first-aid-in-rugby-courses
Cost: $50 per person (includes catering and First Aid Bag)