If you love to work hard and play hard, chances are you will suffer an injury or two along the way. Knowing how to treat those game day injuries effectively on the field – and when you need to seek professional medical help – is an integral part of life for any athlete.
Whether you are a professional athlete, playing for an amateur sports franchise or helping your kids learn the game of football, here are a few game day injuries you need to be aware of. The field of sports medicine is a complicated one, and the more you know about common athletic injuries the easier it will be to get better.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are common injuries across all levels of the sport. Whether you are coaching a game of pee-wee football for your young child or playing in an amateur league yourself, you need to know how to treat these common mishaps.
Whether you suffer a sprained ankle during the game or a strained muscle walking off the field, you can follow the R.I.C.E. method of treatment. In the field of sports medicine, R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. That means getting off the injured limb as soon as possible, applying ice to reduce swelling, wrapping the strained area to keep it stable and elevating it to prevent further damage.
If the sprain does not feel better in a day or two, or if you suspect a bone may be broken, it is important to get checked out as soon as possible. Whether you visit the team doctor or your own family physician, prompt medical attention is the best way to feel better and get back on the field.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Football is a game of repetition, from tackling practice to hard hits on the playing field. That repetition can make injuries more likely, but there are things coaches and parents can do to reduce the risk and help their players stay safe on the field and off.
When practicing, it is important to vary the routine as much as possible. Instead of spending an hour on tackling practice, players can practice their sprints and spend some time kicking and catching the ball. Varying the practice routine can also create a more well-balanced team and make dealing with injured players easier.
The Risk of Concussion
While many common football injuries are minor, others are more serious. Concussions are always a danger when playing football, and it is important to err on the side of caution any time a head injury is involved.
If someone on your team has sustained a hard hit, they should be removed from the game as soon as possible. Removing the player from the field right away will prevent further injury, but it will also give the team doctor time to check the injury and make sure there is no concussion.
It is important to note that a concussion could have taken place even if there is no loss of consciousness. Even if you only suspect a concussion, it is important to be checked out by a sports medicine doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you get help for your game day injury, the faster you will be able to get back on the field.