Injuries in sport can vary widely and on occasions they can be of a very serious nature. In this situation it is essential to know what action you should take in order to provide the best possible care for the athlete.
Once an injury has occurred it is important to ensure that the athlete is in no further danger. This may require the game/ event being stopped. If there are other potential dangers surrounding the injured athlete then these must also be dealt with quickly to ensure the athlete is not injured further.
Once all surrounding dangers have been cleared the next stage is to assess if the athlete is responsive. This can be done by asking the casualty some simple questions:
- Can they hear you?
- Can they open their eyes?
- Do they know what their name is?
- Do they know where they are?
If you cannot get a response, an ambulance or doctor should be called immediately. Then check their airway, breathing and circulation.
If the athlete is responsive then you can focus your attention to the injury that the casualty has suffered. By following four simple steps it is possible prevent further injury to the athlete.
1) Keep the casualty as still as possible to prevent further damage being caused
2) Gather information. Ask key questions:
- How did it happen?
- What did you feel?
- Where does it hurt?
- Does it hurt anywhere else?
- Have you injured this part before?
3) Observe the athlete:
- Are they lying in an unusual position?
- Are they holding a certain area of their body?
- Is the injured area deformed or out of shape?
- Is there a difference when compared to the other limb or side?
- Is it sore or tender to touch?
- Can the athlete move the injured part?
4) Prevent further damage
- Is it a bump or a bruise that does not impair the player’s physical performance?
- If so, play on. Provide a few words of encouragement; monitor the injury and apply the R.I.C.E.R. regime just to be on the safe side.
Is it a less severe injury?
- Is it a sprain, strain or a severe bruise that impairs the player’s ability to play on?
- If so, get the player off the field and apply the R.I.C.E.R. regime as soon as possible
Is it a severe injury?
- Does the injury affect the head, neck, face or spinal cord?
- Does it involve shock, excessive bleeding, or bone fractures and breaks?
- The treatment of these types of injuries goes way beyond the relatively simple soft tissue injury treatment. Seek professional help immediately.
The information provided in this article is for guidance and should not be used in place of recognised training.