How to treat common football injuries

Football is the most widely played sport in the UK and injuries are common at all levels of the game, from the Premier League to the Sunday Leagues. With that in mind, it is important that our understanding of the different types of injury grows and that we learn the skills to aid an injured player.


There are four main types of injury that can occur during training or in a game, they are: traumatic injuries, heat injuries, overuse injuries and concussions. The severity of these injuries can vary but it is vital that those who become hurt are attended to by those trained in first aid and who have the correct medical equipment. First aid specialists St John Supplies offer a variety of comprehensive medical kits designed to help first responders deal with emergency situations.


Traumatic injuries – Traumatic injuries are by far the most serious inflictions that a player can suffer from. They can be problems that require surgery and long absences from the game, and in the worst case scenarios, they can be career ending. The most common types of injuries in this category are associated with the joints and ligaments, although the breaking of bones is also included. Much of the damage is in the knee or ankle, hip or shoulder, where cruciate ligaments tear or the joints dislocate. When it comes to the treatment of traumatic injuries, it is vital that trained medical professionals or paramedics are called upon and that the player remains still, as this will limit the threat of further damage. If the patient is bleeding heavily, a well-stocked first aid kit should provide first aid delegates the appropriate bandages and items to keep the wound clean.


Heat injuries – Heat injuries usually occur through dehydration. When a player trains or plays hard for long periods of time without replenishing their water or body salt, they can suffer from cramp. Cramps can last for a couple of seconds to a few minutes, and the longer that they occur the more damage that there will be to the muscles. Games that go into extra time or are played in warm climates are more likely to cause these types of problems. Cramps and dehydration can be prevented by consuming fluid at regular intervals and eating and drinking properly before and after a game. Most professional clubs will monitor the diets of their players to make sure that they are in prime condition.


Overuse injuries – Overuse injuries and a condition known as ‘overtraining syndrome’ are both common place within football. They occur when a player trains or plays beyond their body’s natural ability to heal itself. The areas affected by these problems are often the knees and lower back. Patellar Tendonitis (pain in the knee joint) occurs after prolonged periods of running without rest and can be made worse by the turning, twisting nature of a player’s movement and the sudden stop/start sprints that form part of the game. Ice packs, cold compresses and plenty of rest are the most common treatments for these types of ailments. Players may also be placed on light training duties.


Concussions – In professional football, the referee may let the game progress after an injury has occurred, except in the case of a clash of heads or a concussion. This ruling protects the players from waiting for treatment, as head injuries can be life threatening. The definition of a concussion is a change in the mental state of an individual following a traumatic impact. If a player remains conscious following a clash of heads or a fall, they may still be suffering from concussion. Symptoms could be reports of a headache or dizziness, nausea or a loss of balance. All head injuries should be seen to by a medical professional and a return to the game should only come about following medical approval.

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