Living in a sporting country such as Australia, sports enthusiasts need to be aware of some of the basic methods of preventing serious injury whilst enjoying their particular sporting activity or adventure.
- Clubs should develop and implement risk management plans
- Educate coaches, trainers and players in sports injury prevention
- Pre-participation evaluation to find individuals who may be at risk
- Availability of first aid equipment, ice, surgical collar, stretcher, mobile phone and emergency contact numbers during any activity
- Availability of personnel with first aid training at all games and events
- Appropriate first aid treatment to be used at the time of injury and prompt referral to a professional sports injury
- specialist or General Practitioner
- Appropriate rehabilitation timeframe, exercises and care to be administered and monitored
- Strictly enforced return-to-play rules for injured players.
Equipment and Playing Surfaces
- Provision of Safe Playing Environment including equipment, playing area and surrounds
- Safer designs of playing equipment and personal protective equipment
- Use of protective equipment such as mouthguards, helmets and pads
- Impact absorbing and slip resistant surfaces to be deployed wherever appropriate
Training and Playing Sport
- Adequate pre-season and in-season training and conditioning
- Player skills and techniques development by trained coaches
- Warm Up and Cool Down before match play and training
- Promotion of good knowledge of game rules and a culture of fair play in players and officials
- Modified rules for junior players and other at-risk groups
- Appropriate hydration and nutrition to be available before, during and after the sporting activity. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water
- UV protection (for outdoor games)
- Provision of water, ice and shade for outdoor games
- Supervision of activity by umpires, coaches, referees, parents and first aid officers as appropriate
- Attention to correct technique as taught during training by the coach
- Enforcement of game rules by the umpire.
Types of Sports Injuries
There are two main types of sports injuries which are:
|these occur suddenly, often with severe pain (eg. sprained ankle)|
|these happen over time as a result of overuse (eg. tennis elbow) or re-injury of an acute injury (eg. recurrent ankle sprains)|
|Injuries may be soft tissue or a hard tissue injury. Most injuries will be of the soft tissue variety but it is helpful to classify it.|
Soft Tissue Injury:
|injury to muscles, tendons, ligaments or joints (eg. sprained ankle, torn hamstring, bruise)|
Hard Tissue Injury:
|injury to a bone (eg. broken finger)|
Common Sports Injuries
For a greater understanding of soft tissue injuries, it’s important to first read the brief explanation of how the various structures of the body work together as follows:
|contracts to make the body move|
|joins muscle to bone|
|joins bone to bone at joints|
|pads the bones in the joint|
The most common soft tissue injuries are:
|Strains||Strains to muscle and tendon occur when the muscle is over stressed or extended causing fibres to rupture (eg. torn hamstring)|
|Haematomas or Contusions||Bruises or cuts caused by a direct blow to the muscle tissue (eg. corked thigh)|
|Tendonitis||Occurs when the tendon or its sheath becomes over stressed or inflamed. Often due to poor equipment or preparation (eg. tennis elbow)|
|Dislocation||Where a joint is injured and one or more bones are fully displaced, usually due to sever external force (eg. dislocated finger)|
|Sprains||Where joints and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion (eg. sprained ankle). These will vary in severity.|
Basic Injury Treatment
Should an injury occur, the basic treatment is RICER:
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
R – Referral
– Ensure the injured person is in a comfortable position preferably laying down, supported and not moving. This will limit further damage and will reduce internal bleeding.
– Apply an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes every two hours and continue this for the first 48 – 72 hours. The coldness reduces welling, pain, muscle spasm and secondary damage. Ice pack should not be applied directly to the skin.
– Apply a firm wide elastic bandage covering the injured area as well as above and below. This compression reduces internal bleeding and swelling.
– Raise the injured area above the levels of the heart as this reduces bleeding, swelling and pain.
– For a full recovery, refer the injured person to a qualified doctor, physiotherapist etc for precise diagnosis, ongoing care and treatment.
Simple Taping Steps
1. How to prepare the skin?
Before you apply the tape, you need to prepare the area to be taped by:
- Shaving the area – for best results, wet-shave the skin 12 hours before or using an electric razor just prior.
- Cleaning the area by using a tape remover to remove the body oil.
- Covering any rashes or broken skin with a non-stick wound pad.
- Applying an underwrap to the area (Optional). An underwrap will help protect tape-sensitive skin.
2. Where to apply the tape?
- Joints are normally strapped at their “at rest” position.
- Do not use the limb to pull against when getting the tape off the role.
- Hold the roll in one hand and pull the tape off with the other hand, then apply gently OR cut off the required number of strips of the correct length before you start applying.
3. How tight should the tape be?
- Flexing the muscles when applying the tape will help you get the correct tension.
- Check that the tape is not too tight by pinching the skin below the tape for a few seconds. The skin should return to its normal colour when released.
- If the tape is too loose, it will not support the joint.
- If it is too tight, then it could cut off the blood supply.
- If numbness and tingling result, remove tape or bandage and reapply with reduced tightness.
4. How much tape to apply?
- For maximum strength, overlap each layer of strapping tape by 1/3 to ½..
- The amount you use depends upon the amount of support you need. If you use too little, then you are not providing enough support to the joint. If you use too much, then you could reduce the mobility of surrounding muscles.
5. When to remove the tape?
- Remove the tape as soon as you have finished training or playing.
6. How to remove the tape?
- Ideally, remove the tape using bandage scissors over a soft part of the limb (not over the bone) then slide under the tape and cut.
- Peel down over the top of the tape. Do not peel at right angles away from the limb.
- Peel gently and evenly – do not rip.
- A tape remover can help to quickly and painlessly remove tapes and bandages. It also helps to remove any tape residue from the skin.
We trust that these tips will assist you in playing sport safely!
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