First-Aid in Sports

First Aid in Sports

Accidents are a common feature across all sports. No matter, how much caution players take, it is impossible to avoid accidents in sports, be it amateur level or professional level. These accidents may result in injury to players and since, there is lack of availability of medical expert, the knowledge of first-aid comes in handy. This post looks at the various aspects of First-Aid in sports.

Definition of First-Aid:

First Aid is the initial assistance or treatment given to a casualty for any injury or sudden illness before the arrival of an ambulance, doctor, or other qualified personnel.

  • First-Aid is usually performed by a Non-Expert person
  • It involves simple procedures
  • It requires minimum equipment to carry out.

Aims of First-Aid:

  • Primary aim is to prevent the casualty’s condition from becoming worse.
  • To give immediate care and relief from pain.
  • To preserve life.
  • To promote recovery.

Types of Sports Injuries:

There are two kinds of sports injuries: acute and chronic.

  • Acute Injury: An injury that occurs suddenly, such as a sprained ankle caused by an awkward landing, is known as an acute injury.
  • Chronic injuries: are caused by overusing the same muscle groups or joints. Poor technique and structural abnormalities can also contribute to the development of chronic injuries.

Some Common sports Injuries:

  • Cuts and abrasions – Usually caused by falls. The knees and hands are particularly prone.
  • Bruises – a blow can cause small bleeds into the skin.
  • Strains: A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. Strains can happen suddenly or develop over time.
    • Groin strain – symptoms include pain and swelling.
    • Hamstring strain – symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising.
  • Sprain – also known as a torn ligament, is damage to one or more ligaments in a joint, often caused by joint being taken beyond its functional range of motion.
  • Fractures – particularly in the lower limbs. The impact of repeated jumping or running on hard surfaces eventually stresses and cracks the bone.
  • Concussion – mild reversible brain injury from a blow to the head, which may be associated with loss of consciousness.

Basic Steps to Prevent Injuries:

  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Warm up thoroughly according to your sport.
  • Use the appropriate safety equipment, such as mouth guards, helmets and pads.
  • Tape or strap vulnerable joints, if required.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the game.
  • Cross-train with other sports to ensure overall fitness and muscle strength.
  • Don’t exert yourself beyond your level of fitness.
  • Cool down after sport with gentle, sustained stretches.
  • Allow adequate recovery time between sessions.

First-Aid Treatment for Injuries:

Treatment for a sports injury will depend on factors such as how severe the injury is and the part of your body affected. A general principle for first-aid is:

  • Protect (avoid risk)
  • Call
  • Aid (help)

First aid for sprains, strains and joint injuries

The primary treatment to stop swelling of injured soft tissue is with the RICE method. This includes:

  • Protection – Protection means stopping activity immediately and protecting the injured part from additional damage.
  • Rest – keep the injured area supported and avoid using for 48-72 hours.
  • Ice – apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes every two hours for the first 48-72 hours.
  • Compression – apply a firm elastic bandage over the area, extending above and below the painful site.
  • Elevation – raise the injured area above the level of the heart at all times. This allows any fluid that is collecting to drain away.

The RICE method skips Protection, which is also an important step. Hence, some texts advocate PRICE regime for first-aid.
Avoid HARM:

  • No Heat – heat will increase bleeding.
  • No Alcohol – alcohol increases bleeding and swelling.
  • No Running – running or exercise increases blood flow, delaying healing.
  • No Massage – massage increases swelling and bleeding, also delaying healing.

First aid for nose bleeds

Suggestions include:

  • Stop the activity.
  • Sit with your head leaning forward.
  • Pinch your nostrils together and breathe through your mouth.
  • Hold your nose for at least 10 minutes.
  • If bleeding continues past 30 minutes, seek medical advice.

First Aid for Athletic Injuries Cuts, Scrapes and Bruises:

Cuts, scrapes and bruises are everyday occurrences in many sports. Most are obviously minor and can be treated with simple first aid. The objectives in treating these minor injuries are to.

  • 1. Stop the bleeding
  • 2. Clean the wound thoroughly; and
  • 3. Protect the wound.

The proper technique to stop bleeding is to apply direct pressure to the wound by firmly holding a clean dressing against it.

Returning After an Injury

Returning to sports too soon can increase your risk of re-injury or developing a chronic problem that will lead to a longer recovery. Waiting too long, however, can lead to unnecessary fitness declines (deconditioning). The best way is getting doctor’s or physiotherapist’s assessment.

Caution: It is not an article written by a Medical Expert but general article from RAS Mains point of view.

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