Accidents are prevalent in sporting activities. Some accidents are avoidable through proper implementation of accident prevention strategies. During sporting activities, organizers should have a response team and well-stocked first aid kits to act very first when someone is injured.
There are different types of injuries during sporting activities, 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 common with sports activities and their first aid treatment. Sports injuries are either acute or chronic or both.
Acute injuries occur abruptly, while chronic injuries present over prolonged periods of overuse. For chronic injuries, athletes or the injured can seek medical care wherever the symptoms start to show. However, acute injuries require 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.
Different types of injuries vary by age. The most common injuries include dislocation and fractures for younger people who participate in contact-related 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 an injury occurs, you should stop the sport immediately to avoid worsening the injury. The first aid procedures are aimed at the management of the condition until professional help arrives. The symptoms for acute injuries include sudden swelling and pain, inability to mobilize an organ or place weight on it, visible dislocations, and visible cuts on the skin.
First Aid Procedure for Different Types of Sports Injuries
Whenever an emergency 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.
First Aid for Dislocation:
Dislocations are widespread in sports and mostly occur within the shoulders. In this type of injury, 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. Place ice on the injured part and take some painkiller drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. The victim should seek specialized care immediately.
First Aid for Fractures
Fractures occur as a result of acute traumas. Fractures can be open or closed. Open fractures occur when a bone is protruding from the skin. There are other instances when fractures occur over time, known as stress fractures. 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.
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 injuries to tendons, ligaments, and meniscus. 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 the amount of blood flowing to the injured part.
First Aid for Strains and Sprains
These are soft tissue injuries, and they can occur in different parts of the body. Sprains and strains affect elbows, ankles, and knees. Although they involve the same organs, the damage affects different 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 to 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 to these strains result in muscle spasm and cramping.
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. First, put a stop to the activity. Compress the injured part with a bandage and then apply ice for a maximum of 20 minutes, letting the injured part warm-up for two-hour intervals before Icing again. You then elevate the injured part to reduce swelling and see a doctor and have the injury assessed.
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 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.
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 prevent 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 quite crucial in victims who have difficulty in breathing and without a heartbeat. 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 defibrillator (AED).
When a victim falls unconscious and doesn’t show any signs of life, such as breathing and a pulse, CPR should start immediately. 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 not available 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.
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 make a regular renewal of their certification to refresh their skills and catch up with upcoming research findings on first aid procedures.
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