OBJECTIVES: To educate athletic trainers and others about the need for emergency planning, to provide guidelines in the development of emergency plans, and to advocate documentation of emergency planning. BACKGROUND: Most injuries sustained during athletics or other physical activity are relatively minor. However, potentially limb-threatening or life-threatening emergencies in athletics and physical activity are unpredictable and occur without warning. Proper management of these injuries is critical and should be carried out by trained health services personnel to minimize risk to the injured participant. The organization or institution and its personnel can be placed at risk by the lack of an emergency plan, which may be the foundation of a legal claim. RECOMMENDATIONS: The National Athletic Trainers' Association recommends that each organization or institution that sponsors athletic activities or events develop and implement a written emergency plan. Emergency plans should be developed by organizational or institutional personnel in consultation with the local emergency medical services. Components of the emergency plan include identification of the personnel involved, specification of the equipment needed to respond to the emergency, and establishment of a communication system to summon emergency care. Additional components of the emergency plan are identification of the mode of emergency transport, specification of the venue or activity location, and incorporation of emergency service personnel into the development and implementation process. Emergency plans should be reviewed and rehearsed annually, with written documentation of any modifications. The plan should identify responsibility for documentation of actions taken during the emergency, evaluation of the emergency response, institutional personnel training, and equipment maintenance. Further, training of the involved personnel should include automatic external defibrillation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, and prevention of disease transmission.