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Harry Kane on a stretcher.

Teaching Speaking: On the treatment table

Teaching Speaking: On the treatment table

This lesson focuses on speaking skills and vocabulary to describe illnesses and injuriesThere are language tasks and activities for your students, a focus on pronunciation, a main speaking task and extension activities.

Find the full lesson plan and all the worksheets you need in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this page.

Lesson Plan


Many learners enjoy roleplay and this lesson gives students a chance to immediately use the language they learn. Students read and listen to a variety of language used to describe illnesses and injuries. The lesson focusses on speaking skills, but learners are also introduced to a wide range of extreme adjectives and they have the opportunity to focus on reading and pronunciation. 

In this lesson, students learn about the language of injuries and illnesses as well as the language they need to recommend treatment.


A2 / B1 (strong pre-intermediate to intermediate)


Teenagers and adults


45 mins + 45 mins

This lesson is flexible and can be used over two different classes or one 90-minute class. You can also extend or shorten some of the steps depending on the level and needs of your students.



  • Picture 1: Setting the scene
  • Worksheet 1: Read the commentaries
  • Worksheet 2: Detailed reading questions
  • Worksheet 3: Definitions
  • Cut-outs: Cards for injuries/illnesses

You can find all the materials in the download section on the right-hand side of this page.


1. Lead-in

Show or draw a picture of a treatment table on the board. (Note: highlight ‘stretcher’ and ‘medical room’ to further engage them in the topic)
Ask students who uses it and why.
Students discuss if they have ever been on a treatment table. What for? Where were they? How did they feel?
Ask students where they would see a treatment table at a sports event.
Ask students these questions:
  • Why are treatment tables needed at sports events?
  • What different injuries could sports stars have?
  • Can you think of any famous sports stars that have been injured during a match, game or race?

2. Task 1

Tell students that they are the team doctor and there is an injury crisis at the club. They will need to help the players recover.

Note: Useful collocation: injury crisis = lots of people in the same team are injured at the same time

3. Reading for general understanding

Give out Worksheet 1 – Reading illnesses and injuries and ask students to read the three dialogues. Set a time limit of 60 seconds.
Ask students: Who has the worst injury? Who should be ok to play next week?

4. Reading for more detail

Give out Worksheet 2 – Detailed reading questions. Students answer the comprehension questions. 
As an alternative, you could make this more competitive. Make copies of the questions for each team of three or four students and cut them up into slips of paper. Give students one question. They have to write the answer on the slip of paper and return it to you before you give them the next question. 

5. Guessing meaning from context

Dictate the following illnesses and injuries:
  • a virus
  • a cold
  • the flu
  • food poisoning
  • a dislocated (knee/ shoulder/ ankle)
  • a bruised (leg/ ankle/ foot)
  • a broken (leg/ toe/ foot) 
  • a sore (leg/ shoulder/ ankle)
Ask students to work in pairs to find the words in the transcript before matching to definitions sheet.

6. Form

Discuss the difference in usage between the illnesses and injuries.
Illnesses we say ‘I’ve got a (bad) cold’, or ‘I’ve had (terrible) food poisoning for x days’
Injuries we use the adjectives before a part of the body. ‘I’ve got a broken + ankle.’
Highlight that dislocations can only happen in joints (shoulder, ankle, knee etc)
Shout out the different problems – students jump left for illness, right for injury.

7. Pronunciation

Drill chunks of language whole class. 
Get students to focus on sentence stress (this will be on the nouns). This could be done by underlining words or clicking with fingers.
Start by drilling:  ‘I’ve got a …’ a few times and them move on to the following sentences:
  • I’ve got a broken ankle.
  • I’ve got a dislocated shoulder.
  • I’ve had terrible food poisoning for 3 days.
Then, get students to pick up different injury/ illness cards and make their own sentences.
Students practise saying these sentences in pairs.

8. Controlled Practice

Tell students to decide which of these are good recovery ideas, and which are bad:
  • light jogging  
  • getting a massage 
  • taking medicine 
  • drinking cola  
  • going to the cinema 
  • playing on your phone 
Ask students to write some more ideas for recommended recovery/ treatment ideas.
Each group can write three recommendations, then share it with the rest of the class so they have a large bank of ideas.
Students then pick up illness/ injury cards, read their problem while their group gives a recommendation.

9. Task 2: Preparation

Tell students that it’s a week before the big match, but there’s a big problem – some of your best players have injuries or illnesses. You need to help them recover before the big match.
Tell students they will play the roles of both the doctor and the player.
Students have to make notes on their injury (as a player) and give recommendations  (as a doctor).

10. Task 2: Delivery

Students take turns role-playing the doctor/ player conversation.
Feedback – ask the doctors which players will be ready to play the big match at the weekend.

Alternatives and Extensions

Students could create a poster that includes:
  • A list of injuries and illnesses
  • Recommendations for each injury or illness
Press Conference
Journalists could question the manager and ask for injury updates on key players before the big match at the weekend.


We hope you enjoy the lesson!

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