Dealing with sports injuries
When an injury happens it is usually when the well stocked first aid kit isn’t available! However we can still do a certain amount to help the injured athlete. If an athlete falls to the floor or is hurt then here are the first three things that you should do.
- Calm the athlete by staying calm yourself and talk to them. Give him or her space keeping everyone away. Move them to a quiet area if the condition is not serious.
- Try and keep the athlete from moving and immobilize an injury to stop pain and prevent further harm, for example for an injured arm, position it close to the body using a support bandage if you have one, or use a towel or other suitable item.
- Find out as much information as possible to enable you to deal with their injury, for example did they suffer a direct blow or did they fall. Have they been ill or had other problems recently.
- It is very difficult to know if an injury is a sprain strain or fracture, unless the skin is broken and you can see a broken bone. Treat suspect sprains and strains as fractures, keep the arm supported and immobilized and help the athlete seek medical advice.
For minor bleeding, wash you hands and wear disposable gloves if you have them. Clean the wound and cover with sterile material to stop the bleeding. Remove the sterile material and bandage the arm or apply an adhesive dressing.
There are two very serious types of bleeding that can be life threatening:
- A vein that has been punctured or had an incision the blood will be dark and flowing profusely.
- An artery that has been punctured or had an incision the blood will be bright red and flowing profusely. Medical help must be called for straight away.
To stop severe bleeding you should:
- Cover the wound with sterile gauze and apply direct pressure with you hand over the wound.
- Keep talking calming. Elevate the injured part if possible.
The bleeding may stop or become less. At this stage apply a dressing to keep the bleeding controlled. If blood comes through the dressing, apply another on top.
What to do when someone is in Shock
After injury the athlete can sometimes suffer from shock which is caused by the lack of blood reaching the vital organs. Medical assistance is needed.
Symptoms of Shock
- The athlete looks very pale and their skin feels cold and damp.
- The pulse becomes weaker and breathing becomes shallow but fast.
- A feeling of dizziness and/or sickness.
- Irritability and gasping for air.
- Slipping into unconsciousness.
What to do if they are in shock:
- If the athlete is conscious, lay them down and raise their legs but keep their head flat on the floor.
- Reassure them and cover them with something light, heavy weight on the body can do harm in this situation.
- Do not offer anything to drink.
- When waiting for medical help to arrive, watch for any deterioration in the athletes condition and if they loose consciousness, lay them on their side in the recovery position.