Head injuries

Head injuries can be life threatening and so must be treated seriously. A head injury should always be looked at by a doctor. It is difficult to tell the extent of a head injury but treatment whilst waiting for medical help will be beneficial to all conditions. The three main conditions are:

  1. Concussion
  2. Compression
  3. Skull fracture

Always assume that the neck, head and spine are injured.

Main Cause of a head injury.

The cause of head injury is usually from a direct blow to the head.


  • Loss of consciousness temporarily and signs of a blow to the head. Dizziness, tinnitus (ringing or other noises in the ear) sickness, headache and the athlete may have slurred speech and loss of memory.
  • Further symptoms are that the athlete has trouble following an object or finger and their pupils may be of unequal size. The athlete may also be confused and their face and body look flushed with a weakness or paralysis to the side of their body or face.
  • Blood and fluid may leak from the nose and ear.

Treatment and recovery

  • Lay the athlete down keeping the neck straight and call for medical help. Stop any bleeding but don`t plug the ears if fluid is leaking from them but cover them.
  • If the athlete is conscious reassure them and monitor their pulse and breathing. If they are unconscious, keep the airway open so that the athlete does not choke on their own fluid or from their own tongue.
  • To open the airway of an unconscious person with possible neck or spinal injuries,without moving the head, gently lift the chin forward, if this doesn’t work, tilt the head very slightly and lift the chin again.
  • Make sure that the athlete is breathing. If they are not breathing, you must put oxygen into their lungs. Support the chin with one hand,with you other hand pinch the nose, take a breath and give two slow breaths into the athletes mouth, two gentle breaths for children. Watch for the chest to rise. Do this only twice.

If the athlete is not breathing you need to do 30 chest compressions and two breaths until help arrives or until the athlete is breathing. Kneel at the side of the athlete. To perform chest compressions, with palms down place one hand on top of the other interlocking the fingers. Your fingers should be pointing away from you. Position the heel of your hand on the center of the chest, the breastbone and press firmly and rhythmically.