Accidents are prevalent in Sports. However, some accidents are avoidable by properly implementing accident prevention strategies. During sporting activities, organizers should have a response team and well-stocked first aid kits to act first when someone has sports injuries.
There are different types of sports injuries, and the first aid given is dependent on the type and severity of the damage. People engaging in sporting activities, even regular physical exercises, need to be aware of the common types of injuries with sports activities and their first aid treatment. Sports injuries are either acute or chronic or both.
What’s the Difference Between an Acute Injury and Chronic Injury?
An acute injury occurs abruptly, while chronic injury presents over prolonged periods of overuse. For chronic injuries, athletes or the injured can seek medical care wherever the symptoms start to show and may require physical therapy after a doctor’s diagnosis. However, an acute injury requires immediate first aid administration. Participants in sports should always be prepared to attend to injuries as soon as they occur. It is critical to be able to provide early care to the injured until specialized help arrives.
When any sports injuries occur, you should stop the sport immediately to avoid worsening the injury. The first aid procedures are aimed at managing the condition until professional help arrives. The symptoms of acute sports injury include sudden swelling and pain, inability to mobilize an organ or place weight on it, visible dislocations, and visible cuts on the skin.
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First Aid Procedure for Different Types of Sports Injuries:
Different types of sports injuries vary by age. The most common sports injuries include dislocation and fractures for younger people who participate in contact sports such as football, rugby, cricket, soccer, and wrestling. According to studies, the most common acute sports injuries include sprains and strains, rotator cuff injuries, knee injuries, fractures, and dislocations.
When a sports injury occurs, the first step is to stop the activity immediately and check for more dangers. It is essential to ensure your safety first and that of the victim. You should call for help or ask someone else to call for help as you start offering the victim first aid care. Here are some of the most common sports injuries and their corresponding treatment method.
1. First Aid Treatment for Dislocation:
Dislocations are widespread in sports injuries and mostly occur within the shoulders. In this type of sports injuries, the joint moves out of its socket. For such victims, you can see the joint dislocation. The symptoms are pain, inability to move the joint, swelling, and bruising.
If you suspect the victim to be having a dislocation, you should keep the organ immobile by avoiding unnecessary movement. You should also not make any attempt to replace the joint as it may result in further injuries. Instead, place ice on the injured part and take some painkiller drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. The victim should seek specialized care immediately.
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2. First Aid for Fractures
Bone Fractures are common sports injuries that occur due to acute traumas. A broken bone fracture can be open or closed. Open fractures occur when a bone protrudes from the skin. There are other instances when fractures occur over time, known as a stress fracture. Injuries involving fractured bones are quite painful. When fractures occur, the victim has difficulty moving, and there may be swelling or bruising and deformity.
First aid procedure for handling fractures:
- If you suspect the victim of having a fracture, seek medical care immediately.
- If a splint is available, use it to mobilize the injured part to prevent movement.
- Elevate the injured organ to reduce swelling. You can also apply ice on the part to reduce swelling and bruising.
- For open fractures, cover the wound to reduce the risk of infections.
3. First Aid for Knee Injuries:
Knee injuries are common in sports, and they can be acute or chronic, or both. The most common acute knee injuries include tendons, ligaments, and meniscus injuries. Some of the signs of knee injuries are buckling sensation, clicking/ popping noise, pain, and weakness feelings.
First aid procedure for managing knee injuries:
- Stop the activity immediately to protect the victim from incurring further injuries.
- The victim should allow the injury to heal by taking rest.
- Cold therapy Icing the injured (the cold prevents inflammation that causes swelling and bruising. Wrap an ice pack in a thin towel and apply on to the injury. Ice causes blood vessels around the injured part to vaso-constrict reducing the inflammation effect.
- Apply ice for 20 minutes at two-hour intervals. After every application, allow time for the injured part to warm. Acute injuries require Icing several times a day.
- Compression will also help minimize swelling and inflammation. You achieve this by wrapping the injured part with an elastic bandage. You can apply cold therapy over the bandaging.
- Elevate the injured organ by placing it in a higher position than the rest of the body. It reduces swelling by limiting blood flow to the injured part.
4. First Aid for Strains and Sprains:
These are soft tissue injuries, and they can occur in different body parts. Sprains and strains affect elbows, ankles, and knees. Although they involve the same organs, the damage affects other tissues. Sprains affect ligaments, which are tissues connecting two bones to a joint. In sprains, the ligament can overstretch from excessive pressure and, in other cases, tear. Strains occur in muscles and tendons. Injuries can result from the overstretching of muscles and tendons. In some cases, these tissues tear. Both sprains and strains present similar symptoms. Sprains’ symptoms are the inability to use the injured organ, pain, and swelling. In addition, these strains result in muscle spasms and cramping.
First aid procedure for handling stains and sprains:
When you suspect the victim of having incurred a sprain or strain, stop the activity. The procedure of attending to strains and sprains is similar to the one above for treating knee injuries.
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5. First Aid for Rotator Cuff Injuries:
Rotator cuffs are tendons and muscles in the shoulder. These injuries are common with older persons and may be acute and chronic. In acute injuries, the victim experiences a snapping sensation with intense pain and may feel weakness in the arm. Whenever this occurs, it is critical to take a rest and avoid engaging the injured arm in any form of activity. The medical checkup should follow immediately to assess the extent of the injury.
6. First Aid for Cuts and Abrasions:
These are very common in both major and minor sporting activities. The severity of the injuries varies from minor scrapes to significant artery injuries that can be life-threatening. Minor injuries free from contamination are washed with clean water and soap and then bandaged. When bandaged, you should apply ice on the wound to prevent inflammation and swelling.
Contaminated abrasions, in which foreign particles are stuck, require specialized treatment in a medical facility. The wound needs cleaning by irrigation to remove any foreign matter. Upon washing, bandage the injury, and apply ice.
Deep cuts require prompt medical attention. When offering first aid, it is critical to control the bleeding. Excessive bleeding can result in shock. To treat the external bleeding, put on gloves, and apply pressure on the wound by using a clean piece of cotton cloth or gauze. When blood soaks through the fabric, place a new material on top of the first. If you cannot stop the bleeding, rush the victim to the hospital.
At times injuries during sporting activities can result in the victim going unconscious. CPR skills are crucial in victims who have difficulty breathing and without a heartbeat. Therefore, it is essential to have a person who holds a first aid certification within the emergency responders in any sporting event. The procedure for performing CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breathing, and the automated external defibrillators (AED).
CPR should start immediately when a victim falls unconscious and doesn’t show any signs of life, such as breathing and a pulse. Also, contact emergency medical response services within the shortest time possible. For these victims, every minute counts, and without CPR, they can die within minutes.
The CPR procedure involves chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute. Each compression should be two to two and a half inches deep. The method always differs in children, infants, and adults. It is, therefore, best performed by people with first aid certification. Two rescue breaths are given after every 30 chest compressions, and if the AED is available, it should be used by knowledgeable persons. If the AED is unavailable and no one is willing to offer resuscitation to the victim, keep performing the chest compressions until specialized help takes over or shows obvious signs of life.
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The use of personal protective equipment is critical when offering first aid to avoid direct contact with blood and body fluids. First aiders should always safeguard their lives and never jeopardize their lives as they try to save others. As you offer first aid, make sure you are on gloves and any other recommended PPE.
First aid training offered on various first aid online certification programs provides a wide range of skills and knowledge critical in treating injuries. Sports are quite risky, and life-threatening emergencies can readily occur. Sporting persons should be conversant with different first aid treatments and regularly renew their first aid certification to refresh their skills and catch up with upcoming research findings on first aid procedures.