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Common Sports Injuries

First Aid for Organized Sports


Updated January 22, 2014

ambulance on football field

A referee is loaded into an ambulance at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

(c) Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images soccer player bloody nose

A player gets treated for his bloody nose

(c) Mark Dadswell/Getty Images Out of breath soccer player

A soccer player catches his breath.

(c) Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Organized sports provide an opportunity to build character through competition. While organized sports are relatively safe, there are certainly those times when Mom sprains an ankle playing on the corporate softball team, or Junior dislocates a shoulder in varsity football. So pack your first aid kit and head to the field, just be sure to brush up on your sports-related first aid.

This is not intended to be a substitute for training. Find a first aid class and get certified. These tips will help you handle common sports injuries. Even once you have taken a first aid class, these tips will help as references. No matter what happens, be sure to follow the ABCs of first aid. Links to Guides other than First Aid are in parentheses.

Calling for Help

When you're out on the field and an ambulance is needed, it's likely you'll call on a cell phone. Here are tips for calling 911 and tips for calling 911 on a cell phone.

Breaks and Sprains

Joint dislocations and broken bones are painful and may have long-term consequences if not handled in a timely fashion. Treat all serious arm and leg injuries as broken bones (even if you think they're dislocated). An easy reminder for almost all arm and leg injuries is the RICE treatment: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.

Cuts and Bleeding

The game is getting serious when the blood starts flowing. Wash all wounds with soap and water - it's the best disinfectant. Deep cuts, where you can see the bumpy fat tissue underneath, will probably need stitches. Otherwise, if you can pull the cut closed easily, try using butterfly closures. Compare Prices

Cuts on active areas like elbows and knees will probably need something stronger than butterfly closures.

Staying Healthy

Allergies, heat, and overexertion can affect the amateur athlete more than we may anticipate. Be prepared for those medical problems that playing organized sports can throw at you. Diabetics (and people with them) should also be aware of the onset of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Those with chronic conditions, like diabetes, should carry their personal medical information with them at all times.

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