Recognizing and Handling Common Injuries
January 07, 2015
While common risks and injuries can vary from sport to sport, there are a few which seem to span all major activities.
If you spend a lot of time around a gym, pool or other athletic facility, it is important to be familiar with the causes and symptoms of these injuries. This knowledge will help you use better judgment in emergency situations so that you can take the right precautions when injuries occur.
This article will provide tips to prevent further injury while providing the most comfort to the injured party as possible until help arrives. Always immediately contact a medical professional for potentially severe injuries. If you have not had proper medical training, you should not attempt to treat the injury yourself.
The amount of time that lapses between an accident and receiving proper medical care is critical. Without immediate treatment, a lot of common accidental injuries can turn severe. Associated blood loss, clots, muscle and nerve damage, bone shards, foreign bodies and infections are high risk factors caused by some of the most common injuries. These side effects can go undetected by untrained persons and lead to other major medical problems.
Below are tips to recognizing common injuries and the steps you can take to handle the situation until medical assistance arrives.
A lot of us associate concussions with high contact sports like football, wrestling or even martial arts. But the truth is that a concussion can happen anywhere at any time. The brain is susceptible to injuries on sudden impact that can sometimes go unnoticed by the injured party. This is why there are rules about never diving headfirst into pits, never practicing skills on your own, and always following proper skill progressions.
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries, generally caused by a blow to the head or from whiplash effect when your upper body and head are violently shaken. Some signs of concussion include temporary loss of consciousness, headaches, dizziness, loss of balance, confusion, amnesia, ringing in the ears, nausea or vomiting, impaired speech, fatigue, and delayed response. These signs can appear immediately or even days after the injury.
If you suspect that a concussion has occurred, do not allow the person to resume vigorous activity for a minimum of 24 hours to allow symptoms to surface and to prevent worse injury.
Breaks and Fractures
Bone breaks and fractures are also very common among athletes. The risk is much higher for athletes which push too hard or use improper technique. With all suspected breaks or fractures, dial 911 and wait to consult with a medical professional. Don’t move the injured party unless there is a high risk of further injury.
While you wait for medical help, apply pressure and a sterile bandage to stop any bleeding, immobilize the injured area, apply ice for swelling and pain and if necessary treat the injured party for shock.
If you have ever dislocated a joint such as a shoulder or elbow, you know it’s painful. The joint also looks visibly deformed and begins to swell. This type of injury is usually due to a fall or collision. While it may not look as severe as a break- it is vital to receive proper medical care. Attempting to reset the joint without the proper medical knowledge can be damaging to the muscle, nerves and tissues surrounding it- even if it looks cool and macho in the movies. Immobilize the joint and treat with ice until you receive medical help.
Sprains are a severe stretch or mild to severe tear to the ligaments that hold your body’s joints in place. There are first-degree (stretched ligaments), second-degree (some torn fibers), and third-degree sprains (most or all fibers are torn).
Pain and swelling will occur and the more swelling there is- the worse the sprain. For minor sprains, remember to R.I.C.E. This stands for rest, ice, compress and elevate. For minor sprains, this is adequate treatment for the healing process.
However, if you find that you are unable to bear weight on the injured joint or you experience numbness in the area- you will need to visit a medical professional for treatment. These are indications that the ligament is torn. In some cases, severe redness or red streaks form around the injured area will form indicating an infection which should be treated by a doctor as quickly as possible.
For more about the causes and treatments of these common injuries, you should consult a medical professional or seek courses in emergency medical training led by professionals. Organizations such as the Red Cross offer formal training in many areas such as Child Care, Water Safety, Emergency Preparedness Education and more!