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Sports Injuries

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Learning objectives

Learning objectives
What we will learn in this presentation:
How to classify injuries as chronic or acute
How to classify injuries as soft tissue or hard tissue
Different types of skin damage cuts, grazes,
blisters and chafing
The causes and treatment of strains, sprains,
dislocations and torn cartilage
How to identify and treat fractures
The treatment of injuries R.I.C.E.
The causes and treatment of unconsciousness
D.R.A.B.C., resuscitation and the recovery position
The causes and treatment of concussion,
dehydration and hypothermia.
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Chronic injuries
Injuries can be classed as chronic or acute.
First, we will consider chronic injuries.
Chronic injuries are caused by continuous
stress on a body part over a long time.
Here are some common chronic injuries:
tennis elbow
golfers elbow
shin splints.
Chronic injuries can be caused by training
too hard, not allowing time for recovery,
poor footwear and bad technique.

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Chronic injuries: tennis and golf elbow

Overuse injuries can occur due to repeated powerful
muscle movements.
Golf and tennis put a lot of strain on
the elbow.
In golf and tennis elbow, the tendons
that attach muscles to the elbow joint
become inflamed, sore and painful.
These injuries should be treated by
applying an icepack and resting for
several weeks.
Physiotherapy treatment may be
needed and possibly cortisone
(steroid) injections to relieve the pain.
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Chronic injuries: shin splints

Shin splints are pains in the
lower leg, caused by continuous
stress over a long period of time.
Either the tendons around the
tibia become inflamed, or stress
fractures develop these are
cracks along the length of the
Shin splints should be treated
with ice and plenty of rest.
Cushioned footwear and special
insoles can help to prevent the
injury returning.

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Acute injuries
Acute injuries occur when there is sudden stress on the body.
There are three main causes:


1. Collisions with
opponents or obstacles.

2. Being struck
by an object.

3. Falling from a
height or at speed.
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Acute injuries

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Hard and soft tissue injuries

Injuries can also be classified as soft tissue or
hard tissue injuries.

Hard tissue injuries

are bone injuries.

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Soft tissue injuries

involve damage to
skin, muscles, tendons,
ligaments or cartilage.
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Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries can be open or closed.
An open injury means that the skin has been broken
blood usually escapes.
Open injuries include cuts,
grazes, blisters and chafing.

Closed injuries include

bruising, pulls, strains
and sprains.

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A closed injury occurs

beneath the skin
there is no external

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Open injuries: cuts and grazes

Cuts require
immediate attention to
stop bleeding and
allow the blood to clot.

After the cut is

cleaned, plasters and
dressings can be used
to control bleeding and
protect the wound.
Deep cuts may need stitches to hold the skin together.
Grazes or abrasions where skin is scraped off the
body, need to be cleaned carefully. Grazes that
result from falls can often contain dirt and grit.
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Open skin damage blisters and chafing

Blisters are caused by the skin
rubbing on other surfaces.
They most commonly occur on the
feet, due to ill-fitting shoes, and on
the hands, due to excessive wear and
tear (e.g. from rowing and archery).
A bubble of liquid forms just under
the skin to protect the area while new
skin is grown underneath. Never burst the bubble, as the
blister may then become infected.
Chafing is caused by ill-fitting clothing or material. Longdistance runners are particularly prone to chafing in areas
like the armpits, where clothing may rub.
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Closed injuries
Bruises occur when small
blood vessels are damaged by
an impact or sudden wrenching
This causes bleeding beneath
the skin, leading to swelling and
Strained (pulled) muscles result from muscles being
suddenly and forcefully overstretched.
This tears the muscle fibres, usually where they attach to the
tendon. The muscle is painful and its strength is reduced.
Bruises and strains should be treated
with ice to reduce the swelling.
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Sprained/ twisted ankle

Sprains are different to strains
they involve ligaments rather than
muscles and tendons.
Sprains occur when ligaments at
joints get stretched and torn. A
sharp twist of the foot can give you
a sprained or twisted ankle. Severe
sprains result in torn ligaments.
Sprains are more serious than strains, and result in
considerable pain and loss of function at the joint.
The symptoms are similar to a fracture or dislocation.
Sprains should be treated with ice and rest.

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A dislocation occurs when a bone is pulled or
twisted out of place at a joint.
When the shoulder is dislocated,
the humerus is pulled out of the
socket on the scapula.
The injured person is usually
unable to move their arm, and the
shoulder loses its rounded shape.
Dislocations are very painful. They require hospital
treatment to move the bone back into position.
The ligaments and tissue around the joint can take a
long time to recover.
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Cartilage tear of the knee

Cartilage aids friction free
movement at the knee joint and
provides some shock absorption.
Cartilage can tear if the knee is
twisted excessively. This is a
common football injury, caused
when players change direction


A cartilage tear is a serious

injury. The knee will be painful,
may lock and will swell.
An icepack can reduce swelling, but surgery is
sometimes needed to repair the damaged cartilage.
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Soft tissue injuries

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Hard tissue injuries

Hard tissue injuries are bone fractures the bone
either cracks or breaks.
Fractures lead to:
bruising and swelling
pain due to nerve damage
the limb or area of the body
where the break is becomes
if it is a bad fracture, the area
will look obviously deformed.
Shin splints are a form of fracture
caused by repeated stress.
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Fractures can be open (simple) or closed (compound).

A simple or closed
fracture means that the
bone is cracked but the
skin is not broken.

A compound or open
fracture means that the
skin is broken and the
bone is sticking out.

Open fractures are more serious.

They usually involve blood loss.
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Fractures are usually caused by violent
impacts. They are most common in contact
sports like rugby, and sports where there is
a risk of falling from height or at speed, for
example, horse riding, skiing and climbing.
Fractures are difficult to prevent as they
are caused by sudden and unexpected
events or accidents. Using correct technique and playing
by the rules can reduce the risks to some extent.
Fractures should be treated by immobilizing the injured
area with a splint or sling and controlling any bleeding with
a dressing. The casualty should not be moved until the
ambulance arrives, unless absolutely necessary.
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Whenever there is any injury to bones, joints, ligaments
muscles or tendons, blood vessels will be damaged.
Broken blood vessels mean that blood leaks into tissues
around the injury. This will lead to swelling, bruising and pain.
To combat the effects of this,
you should follow the R.I.C.E
method of treatment:
R Rest


C Compression
E Elevation
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Unconsciousness can be caused by a number of things.
1. Fainting common fainting is a temporary abnormality in
blood flow to the brain. It can be caused by stress, heat or
physical exertion.
2. Head injury any blow to the head can cause
unconsciousness, whether it damages the skull or not.
3. Heart attack or stroke this can interrupt blood flow to the
4. Asphyxia breathing is obstructed, for example if the
person has inhaled water.
5. Shock caused by blood loss, infection or heart problems.
Unconsciousness can also be a sign of a wide
range of illnesses, for example, diabetes.
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If an unconscious casualty is not breathing, rescue breaths
(or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) can be used.
This involves the rescuer repeatedly
blowing air into the mouth of the casualty
to inflate and deflate their lungs. This
allows some oxygen into the body.
If a casualty has no pulse, chest compressions can be used.
The rescuer pushes down firmly and
repeatedly on the casualtys chest,
mimicking the action of the heart and
circulating some blood around the body.
Used together, these two techniques are known
as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.
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The recovery position

An unconscious casualty who is breathing and

has no life-threatening conditions should be
placed in the recovery position.
This keeps the airway open and prevents them
swallowing their own tongue or choking on vomit.

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Concussion is a common
cause of unconsciousness
while playing sport.
Concussion occurs when an
individual has received a blow
to the head, causing an injury
to the brain. This could be
caused by falling or being hit
by something or someone.


A person may be concussed without losing consciousness.

The signs can include disorientation, loss of vision,
vomiting, paleness, a racing pulse and shallow breathing.
Concussion should be treated at hospital.
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When we exercise, especially in
hot conditions, the body loses
water as a result of sweating.
If the performer does not re-hydrate
by drinking lots of water, they may
suffer from dehydration.
The body also loses important
electrolytes salts which conduct
nerve impulses and maintain cell
This results in the performer feeling
very tired, nauseous and faint.
The performer should stop exercising
and re-hydrate somewhere cool.
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Normal body temperature is 37C.
If a performers body temperature
falls below 35C, they begin to
suffer from hypothermia.
People who take part in activities
in mountainous areas or on water
are particularly at risk.
Common symptoms of
hypothermia are shivering,
paleness, loss of dexterity and
erratic behaviour.
A hypothermic person should be warmed-up gradually.
They need warm, dry clothing, warm
drinks and high energy foods.
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Exam-style questions
1. Explain what is meant by:
a) a soft tissue injury
b) a chronic injury.
2. Fran turns her ankle over during her ballet lesson. Her
ankle is painful and her teacher says she may have
damaged some ligaments.
a) What injury does Frans teacher suspect?
b) Describe how the injury should be treated.
3. A hockey player is hit on the head by the ball. They
appear to be unconscious. Describe how you would
treat the casualty.

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Can you remember all these keywords?

Chronic injury


Acute injury

Strains / pulled muscle

Continuous stress


Overuse injury


Soft tissue injury

Fracture simple / closed

Hard tissue injury

Open injury

Fracture compound /

Closed injury




Grazes and abrasions


Blisters and chafing


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