The following injuries can be serious. While coach should learn to recognise the symptoms of serious injury, the most obvious and necessary advice is to call for medical help straight away.
‘Winding’ is usually due to a blow in the mid section causing the diaphragm to go into spasm and creating apparent paralysis of the lungs. Leave the player alone and he will recover. If a blow causes damage to the spleen of kidney, the pulse rate increases. There is a clammy expression and the patient is pale. Transfer him to hospital immediately.
Bruised ribs may not be too serious and may be treated with ice packs and bandages for protection. It is not usually desirable to tape as it may restrict the chest and breathing is difficult. Sometimes the muscles between the ribs get bruised and these might take a considerable time to recover. In this case playing need not be restricted although the injured area should be protected as subsequent blows can be very painful.
Fractured ribs usually occur when a player is “sandwiched’ between two others, or from an errant elbow. If broken ribs are suspected the player must be referred to a doctor for X-ray as soon as possible. It is possible even more serious injury such as a punctured lung or internal bleeding could accompany fractured ribs.
Most head and facial are caused through contact. Sometimes a player receives a blow on the face (usually caused by another player’s elbow, or a clash of heads)If his nose bleeds and does not stop fairly quickly there is a good chance he will have a broken nose. X-ray as soon as possible. The nose should be re- set within 24 hours to prevent complications. Apply an ice pack immediately while the doctor is summoned.
If a player received a blow to the face and complains of numbness of the upper lip, it is possible the cheekbone has been fractured. Again, summon the doctor immediately or take the patient straight to hospital for an X-ray.
If teeth are broken or have been knocked out, keep them and take the patient to a dentist as soon as possible. It is often possible to have teeth replaced if treatment is available promptly.
The symptoms of concussion may be dizziness, unbalance and loss of memory. Stop play immediately and call for a doctor. The player should not be allowed to play until medical clearance is received. In case of concussion the patient must be hospitalized for at least six hours as further complications may not be immediately evident and urgent attention may be necessary.
Lie the patient down and test for pain etc. If unconscious, the patient should not lie on his back, but should be placed in the ‘coma’ position, on his stomach with the left hand under the head and the right hand at the side. This prevents the tongue from receding into the throat and blocking the wind pipe.