It doesn't matter whether you are a Vixens player or play every Saturday with your friends, you may incur an injury.
One of the key principles of first aid is to PREVENT further injury. For example, with proper treatment even a painful strain can recover well with no long term effects. However, if you allow a player to be the "hero" and "play through the pain" it can result in 2 negative effects:
- Compounding the injury - there is a high risk of the same injury happening again but worse
- Increasing the recovery time - how a sprain is treated in the first 24 hrs has a significant effect on recovery time. Is playing the last 5 mins of a game worth missing an extra month's worth of game time?
It is the responsibility of a good first aider to take charge and do everything to protect the casualty and prevent further injury.
For the treatment of any injury the principles of R.I.C.E.R should be applied immediately.
Click FIX UP Guide for Injury Management protocol.
R.I.C.E.R stands for:
R Rest: means come off the court, have the injury assessed and if you cannot continue then apply:
I Ice: 15 minutes every 2 hours. The application of cold reduces swelling, bleeding and consequently the severity of the injury.
C Compression: following ice a tight elastic compression bandage should be applied and removed only for icing. Compression also helps to reduce the amount of swelling.
E Elevation: keep the injured part above the level of the heart eg. don't let the ankle hang if you have sprained it.
R Refer & Record: once you have applied these immediate acute principles, it is then essential to have the injury reviewed by either a suitably qualified sports physician or physiotherapist. If you are unable to take any weight on the foot or take 4 steps, an Xray may be appropriate.
There are also certain Don't's which should be adhered to so as to reduce the severity of the injury. Your chances of a full recovery will be helped if you avoid the H.A.R.M factors in the first 48 - 72 hours:
These are H.A.R.M. factors:
H: Heat, increases bleeding and swelling - avoid heat packs, hot baths, saunas
A: Alcohol, increases swelling and bleeding and can delay healing.
R: Running / exercising too soon can aggravate an injury.
M: Massage, in the first 24 hours increases swelling and bleeding.
Remember to see your doctor if your injury does not improve.