By virtue of their profession, athletes are always exposed to the risk of sustaining severe facial or dental injuries. There is a broad range of facial damages that can happen during sports, and their severity varies with the cause. Sports-related facial injuries can either involve soft tissue traumas such as bruises and lacerations, fractures such as nasal fractures, or dental injuries such as a broken jaw or missing teeth. Understanding the cause and extent of the facial injury helps to take the right steps in handling and treating the injury.
There are several essential steps that you should take after sustaining a facial or dental injury during sports. By following these steps, you prevent further damage to your face and keep the injury in a sterile condition as you head to the hospital for treatment. While some injuries may require special care, several interventions apply universally to all sports-related facial injuries. This article looks at some of the actions you should take when a facial injury occurs on the pitch.
When your colleague or competitor gets injured on the face during a sport, the first thing you do is evaluate them in line with the Advanced Trauma Life Support Protocol. Also, evaluate them for any associated injuries such as head fractures and spinal injuries. Unless there is severe bleeding or the patient’s airways have been compromised, you should start by stabilizing the patient before you seek treatment for the facial injury.
To assess the extent of the damage, a thorough examination of the face needs to be done. For instance, you need to inspect every part of the patient’s face for swelling, bruises, bleeding, fractures, missing teeth, and unevenness. When examining the patient’s soft tissue, ensure they are coherent enough to react to your commands. This helps to assess their motor and cranial nerve functions. Please pay close attention to their facial and trigeminal nerves for any pain. If noted, seek an oral surgeon or other appropriate specialist.
Once you have identified the injury, rinse it with regular saline, and ensure all debris and foreign bodies have been removed. This step is crucial because it prevents infections and traumatic tattooing. If saline isn’t effective, use diluted hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the dried blood and debris. In the case of bleeding, apply pressure to the wound to control bleeding. Sometimes it helps to identify and tie the affected vessels. Depending on the severity of the injury, make sure you go to the hospital as soon as possible for wound closure and any other treatment. If your jaw is injured, or you’re missing any teeth schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon to assess the best treatment to help the injury.