Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 2014
My role was providing immediate care to athletes and para athletes on the field of play (track side) at Athletics. That involved First Response to injury. In preparation, we practised daily medical drills for safe responses to injured athletes, working with a team of highly qualified and experienced trauma doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. Above are the South African silver and bronze medalists in the long jump, the event in which Greg Rutherford (England) won gold.
My advice on immediate response to injury:
It’s well established that the first 72 hours following injury are important in determining a good outcome. Most people know the principles of PRICE. You can ice up to every 2 hours in the first 72 hours.
Do not take anti inflammatory medication for the first 48 hours after injury. They interfere with the body’s natural responses which are important. Paracetamol is often used for pain control, but speak to your pharmacist first.
Head injuries sustained during sport should be monitored carefully in the first 48 hours since trauma to the head can cause concussion. Ask your experienced sports physiotherapist or GP to use the SCAT to assess whether there has been a concussion. It’s the best medically recognised way to determine concussion (mild or otherwise). I suggest ALL head injuries are taken seriously, better safe than sorry.
Click here for the best advice about when it’s safe to return to contact sports, and discuss the recommendations with your GP or experienced sports physiotherapist.
The Premier Football league has made a new ruling that gives the medical person the final say following a head injury. For the safety of the athlete, I hope other sports will do the same. Click here for the latest ruling.
Early movement, once the repair process gets under way (after the first few day), can minimize poor healing, and specific advice about how to best manage your injury from a well experienced physiotherapist can help minimise the the impact of injury (less chance of a ongoing weakness). If you are having difficulties 6 weeks after an injury seek help, or earlier for significant injuries.