Concussion and other injuries
We ALL need to know what to do!
RECOGNISE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CONCUSSION
Concussion should be suspected if one or more of the following visible clues, signs, symptoms or errors in memory questions are present.
01 Physical Signs (what you see)
- Loss of consciousness or non-responsive.
- Lying on the ground not moving or slow to get up.
- Loss of balance/co-ordination.
- Visible injury to face or head (especially in combination with any other signs).
- Grabbing/clutching of head.
- Dazed, blank or vacant look.
02 Memory (what they say)
- Failure to answer any of these questions correctly may suggest a concussion.
- What venue are we at today?
- Which half/quarter is it now?
- Who scored last in this game?
- What team did you play last week/game?
- Did your team win the last game?
03 Clinical Symptoms (what they feel)
- If any of the following symptoms appear, concussion may be present.
- Blurred vision.
- Neck pain.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Headache/pressure in the head.
- Sensitivity to light &/or noise.
- Drowsiness/trouble sleeping.
- More emotional.
- Nervous or anxious.
- Problems with memory.
- Reduced ability to think/ concentrate.
04 Red Flags (what requires hospitalisation)
- If no qualified medical professional is available, consider transporting by ambulance for urgent medical assessment.
- Player complains of neck pain.
- Increasing confusion or irritability.
- Repeated vomiting.
- Seizure or convulsion.
- Weakness or tingling/burning in arms or legs.
- Deteriorating conscious state.
- Severe or increasing headache.
- Unusual behaviour change.
- Double vision.
REMOVE THE PLAYER FROM PLAY
- Any player with a suspected concussion must be IMMEDIATELY REMOVED FROM PLAY, and must not be returned to activity until they are assessed medically and follow THE RETURN TO PLAY STAGES.
- Apply first aid principles: DRSABC (Danger, Response, Send for help, Airway, Breathing, Circulation).
- Treat as though they have a neck injury.
- ONLY be move by a medical professional trained in spinal immobilisation techniques.
- Do not remove headgear (if present) unless trained to do so.
- Call 111 if there is concern regarding the risk of structural head or neck injury.
- Players with a suspected concussion should not be left alone and should not drive a motor vehicle.
REFER THEM TO A DOCTOR FOR ASSESSMENT
- Anyone with a suspected head injury needs to see and be assessed by a medical doctor. Only a qualified medical doctor can assess and diagnose a concussion. This is essential to confirm the diagnoses of concussion and to assess the risk for more serious injury.
- It’s useful to have a list of local medical doctors, concussion clinics and emergency departments close to where the sport/activity is being played.
- WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
- REST, RECOVER and RETURN.
- REST until symptom-free.
- RECOVER by following your doctor’s advice and following
THE RETURN TO PLAY STAGES.
- RETURN to the full demands of your sport when fully recovered and cleared by your doctor.
TREATING THE INJURY R.I.C.E.D.
A soft tissue injury such as a sprain, strain, or bruise should immediately be treated with the R.I.C.E.D. procedure:
- Rest reduces further damage.
- Avoid as much movement of the injured part as possible to limit further injury. Don’t put any weight on the injured part.
- Ice cools the tissue and reduces pain, swelling and bleeding.
- Place ice wrapped in a damp towel onto the injured area.
- Apply ice for 20 minutes every two hours for the first 48 hours.
- Firm bandaging helps to reduce bleeding and swelling. Ensure that bandaging is not so tight that it cuts off circulation or causes tingling or pain past the bandage. Bandage the injury between ice treatments.
- Elevate the injured area to stop bleeding and swelling.
- Raise the injured area on a pillow for comfort and support.
- Consult a medical professional such as a doctor or physiotherapist especially if you are worried about the injury, or if the pain or swelling gets worse. If the pain or swelling has not gone down significantly within 48 hours, also seek treatment.
AVOID H.A.R.M. - FUL FACTORS
Once the injury has been diagnosed and treated, avoid the H.A.R.M.-ful factors for 72 hours:
- Heat increases the bleeding in the injured tissues. Avoid hot baths and showers, saunas, hot water bottles, heat packs and liniments.
- Avoid alcohol as it increases the bleeding and swelling around soft tissue injuries and delays healing. It can also mask the injury’s pain and possible severity, which may result in the player not seeking treatment as early as they should. If a player has a suspected head injury alcohol MUST be avoided.
- Running, or exercise of the injured part, will cause further damage. Do not resume exercise within 72 hours of the injury unless a medical professional clears the player.
- Massage causes an increase in bleeding and swelling and will prolong the rehabilitation process when done within 72 hours of the injury.