Basic Treatments

The following includes guidelines for treating many common sports injuries and conditions, such as minor wounds, sprains and strains, heat-related illnesses and dehydration.


Wound Care

  • Always wear protective gloves when dealing with bodily fluids (i.e. blood, urine, saliva, etc.)
  • Apply a sterile gauze pad to the wound (if not available use a clean towel)E
  • Elevate the wound and apply direct pressure for until bleeding stops. If the bleeding continues past 5-10 minutes seek medical attention.
  • If the wound is soiled, irrigate with a disinfectant, or if nothing else is available, clean water.
  • Cover the wound with a clean or sterile dressing to prevent infection.
  • Clean blood spills with a diluted water/bleach solution (10 parts H2O and 1 part bleach).


Nose Bleeds

  • If available always wear protective gloves
  • Nosebleeds are common and usually short lived
  • Control the bleeding by squeezing the nose with constant pressure for 5-10 minutes. Ice may be applied to both sides of the nose to help speed coagulation and stop bleeding.
  • Do not tilt the head back
  • Do not let the athlete blow his or her nose
  • If bleeding persists, seek medical attention


Eye Contusion

  • If available always wear protective gloves
  • Be cautious of a fracture of the orbit (eye socket). Things to look for:

1.    Blurred vision
2.    Swelling
3.    Discoloration of the area surrounding the eye
4.    Broken blood vessels in the eye
5.    Injured eye appears lower than un-injured eye
6.    Gentle application of cold compress
7.    Seek medical attention


Object in Eye

  • If available always wear protective gloves
  • If an object such as dirt, eyelash or chemical substance is in the eye:

1.    Gently flush the eye with clean water or saline
2.    Continue to flush until the object is removed
3.    If you are unable to flush the eye successfully cover both eyes and transport the athlete to medical
      attention. Covering both eyes will minimize movement of the eye with the foreign substance in it.

  • If the eye is penetrated with a sharp object or if the eye is bleeding cover both eyes with a light dressing and seek immediate medical attention. Do not attempt to remove the object.


Tooth Displaced

  • If available always wear protective gloves
  • Never pick up the tooth by the roots. Grasp the tooth by the crown.
  • If the tooth is dirty rinse the tooth off in water. Do NOT scrub the tooth or dry it.
  • If possible reposition the tooth in its socket immediately. Hold the tooth in place by gently biting down on it or have the athlete gently hold it in place with his or her fingers. A tooth has the best chance of survival if placed back in its socket within the first 30 minutes.
  • If you are not able to place the tooth back into its socket the following are recommended methods of transport:

1.    Emergency tooth preservation kit (available at your local pharmacy)
2.    Saline solution
3.    Saliva - Have the athlete hold the tooth between their cheek and gum
4.    If none of the above is available use clean water

  • Remember to keep the tooth moist at all times


Sprains and Strains

  • A sprain involves the stretching and/or tearing of a ligament that provides support and stability to a joint. Sprains usually occur as a result of some type of trauma such as twisting an ankle or knee.
  • A strain involves an injury to a muscle and/or tendon that allows us to move a joint or body part. Strains may occur as a result of trauma from a force that causes us to "overstretch" a muscle or from a sudden increase in activity or use that we are not prepared for. 


The amount of force determines the grade of the sprain or strain:

  • Grade 1 mild (Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers of the ligament or muscle/tendon)
  • Grade 2 moderate (Partial tearing of the ligament or muscle/tendon)
  • Grade 3 severe sprain (Complete tear of the ligament or muscle/tendon which may require surgery)


Symptoms include:

  • Pain with swelling
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Discomfort


Recovery Timeline:

  • Grade 1 mild: Usually heals enough in 5-7 days to allow modified activity and requires up to 6 weeks to heal completely
  • Grade 2 moderate: Usually requires 6-10 weeks to heal completely
  • Grade 3 severe: Usually requires 12-16 weeks to heal completely


Management of Sprains and Strains: (R.I.C.E.)

  • Rest - Take a break from the activity that caused the injury. The injured ligament, muscle or tendon should be rested to allow healing to begin and recovery to occur.
  • Ice - The injured body part (ligament, muscle, and tendon) should be iced down. Ice significantly helps to minimize pain, swelling and inflammation. Ice may be applied in the form of an ice pack, a plastic bag, commercially available chemical ice pack or flexible gel filled pack, or ice bath (immersion of the body part in water. Ice should be applied for 15-30minutes every 2 hours, for up to the first 2-4 days depending on the extent of the injury.
  • Compression - To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, wear an elastic compression bandage over the injured joint, muscle or tendon.
  • Elevation - To reduce swelling, recline when you rest, and put your leg up higher than your heart. Elevating the injured joint, muscle or tendon may also help minimize swelling that can occur as the result of an injury.


Heat Related Illness

Muscle Cramps - Painful spasm of muscles


  • Application of ice, remove restricting clothing, remove athlete from the sun
  • Encourage stretching of the muscle that is cramping and stopping activity that is causing the cramping
  • Push fluids (water and sports drink)


Heat Exhaustion-  Caused by a decrease in blood volume due to dehydration. The most common type of heat illness

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Dizziness, headache, nausea,
  • Profuse sweating, cool/clammy skin
  • Rapid weak pulse and body temperature at or slightly below normal.


  • Move athlete to a cooler area
  • Elevate legs and encourage fluids
  • Monitor vital signs (i.e. breathing, pulse and level of consciousness)


Heat Stroke - In this case the blood volume is so low that the body's cooling system has shut down, the person stops sweating and goes into shock.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Disorientation, possible unconsciousness
  • No sweating, hot/dry skin
  • Rapid/strong pulse and an increased body temperature.

Treatment: This is a medical emergency and requires rapid cooling and immediate transport to the hospital.

  • Move athlete to a cooler area
  • Reduce body temperature by applying cold wet towels to the head and body or dump cold water on the body
  • Monitor vital signs (i.e. breathing, pulse and level of consciousness)
  • Activate the Emergency Medical System - Call 911. Seek immediate medical attention



Signs of Symptoms:

  • Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Poor Performance
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps

What To Drink During Exercise:

  • Athletes will benefit from drinking water which should be able to be consumed as needed
  • If exercise lasts more than 45-50 minutes or is intense a sports drink containing electrolytes and/or carbohydrates may need to be considered during the session. Drink along with water!
  • Fluids with salt (sodium chloride) are beneficial to increasing third and voluntary fluid
  • intake, as well as offsetting the amount lost in sweat
  • Cool beverages (water or electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade) at temperatures of 50-59
  • degrees are recommended

What Not To Drink

  • Fruit juices, carbohydrate gels, sodas are not recommended during exercise
  • Beverages containing caffeine, alcohol and carbonation are discouraged during activity because they can dehydrate the body by stimulating excess urine during production or decrease voluntary fluid intake

Hydration Tips

  • Drink according to a schedule based on needs. By the time you become thirsty, you are close to dehydrated
  • Drink before, during and after practices and games
  • Avoid soft drinks and juices during play

An Ounce of Prevention
Some ways you can prevent your child from experiencing heat illness include:

  • Teach your athlete to always drink plenty of fluids before and during an activity in hot, sunny weather - even if they are not thirsty
  • Make sure your child wears light-colored loose clothing
  • Make sure your child only participates in heavy activity outdoors before noon and after 6 p.m
  • Teach your child to come indoors immediately whenever he or she feels overheated.