Management of injuries

Are there things you can do that will contribute to an injury or make one more likely?

Remember do no HARM.

Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage can harm an injury.


Do no HARM.


HARM stands for Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage.


  • Heat: (including saunas and spas) increases bleeding and swelling.
  • Alcohol: increases bleeding and swelling; – heat and alcohol cause the blood vessels to expand (vasodilation) and further swelling to take place.
  • Running: exercising too soon will not allow the injury to heal optimally.
  • Massage: enthusiastic stretching or firm massage increases bleeding and delays healing.

Remember the following information about injury prevention and management:

  • You should learn basic First Aid for the different kinds of injuries likely to be related to your activities.
  • Correct management of an injury can significantly reduce recovery time.
  • The first 48 hours are vital in the effective management of any sporting injury.
  • The body has the ability to heal itself provided it is given the opportunity to do so. This means it is important not to return to the activity until an injury has healed satisfactorily.
  • Medical attention may be required.

How should I treat an injury?

First of all, you must find out how serious the injury is. Call on DRSABCD.  That’s you!


DRSABCD – a Basic First Aid Course will teach you this.  At least one person on your team or coaching staff should have a current first aid certificate.




Send for help






Danger – check for danger to the injured person and also yourself.  On the sporting field, check where ‘play’ is to ensure you won’t be run into by other players.


Response – call out the injured player’s name.  If there is no response you can try a hard, brisk rub across his/her breast-bone (sternal rub).   If he/she still doesn’t respond or is unconscious, assign someone to call for an ambulance immediately – even if the injured person regains consciousness later (he/she may have swelling on the brain and requires a thorough assessment from a doctor).


Airway – check the injured player has a clear airway, most importantly, that he/she is not at risk of ‘swallowing their tongue’.


Breathing – place your ear/cheek close to his/her mouth to ascertain whether he/she is breathing.  You can also check if the upper chest is moving up and down.


Circulation – if the patient isn’t breathing, commence CPR immediately.  The rate is 30:2, that is 30 chest compressions then 2 breaths.


Defibrillator – the most recent research has confirmed the sooner a defibrillator is applied, the more success the patient has of surviving.  Most public places like sports centres and shopping centres have easy-to-use defibrillators.  Everyone should become familiar with where it is located.


Once you have assessed the injury and are satisfied it is a soft tissue injury (not a head injury, broken bone), then you should follow the regime below.


You should follow the PRICED regime within the first few minutes of sustaining or observing an injury.


Prevent further injury through

Rest (Relative rest – meaning not complete rest, just take full pressure off injured limb)






Prevent further injury by making sure the injured person is out of danger and the correct management of the injury is followed. For example, use a stretcher rather than expect the injured player to hobble off the field.


Rest the injured part until bleeding has stopped. Usually 24 to 48 hours is required to prevent further damage and allow time for healing to begin.  It is important to understand this is relative rest.  By this we mean not to completely rest in bed, but using crutches will rest an injured leg but still allow you to move around.  There can be fatal consequences to prolonged complete rest; for example blood clots in the legs which can travel to the lungs or brain.


Ice helps reduce bleeding, swelling, pain and muscle spasm. Ice should be used in the first 48 hours to gain most benefit.  It is very important to wrap the ice in a damp cloth or paper towel as an ice pack directly onto the skin may give you an ice burn.


Compression helps minimise bleeding and swelling and provides support for the injured part. A bandage should be firm but not too tight. It is important to start applying the bandage from the toes towards the ankle/lower leg (distal to proximal).  This way you will encourage any swelling to move out of the limb and towards the lymph nodes where it disperses.


Elevation helps to drain blood and fluid from the injured limb and prevents blood pooling around the injury. This helps to reduce swelling and bleeding. For elevation to be effective, the limb must be positioned higher than your heart.


Diagnosis from a doctor or physiotherapist should be sought if the injury is severe. Usually, the injured person knows when there is too much pain, swelling or restriction of movement.