Head - Sports Injury

A head injury can be caused by a variety of accidents where the head has taken a considerable amount of damage. A bad fall or sudden impact can cause a great deal of injury to the head and in some circumstances can even be fatal. Head injuries themselves aren’t necessarily serious, but the real problem is that beneath the surface wound there could potentially be something more fatal which needs to be identified. There are three main repercussions which could follow a head injury which have varying levels of severity, these are: concussion, skull fracture and cerebral compression.

Head Injury Action

If you witness a head injury then there are things you can do to help decide on the level help necessary before immediately contacting an ambulance. In most cases contacting medical professionals, whether it’s by calling an ambulance or getting a nearby trained first aider, is advisable, because only they will be able to accurately measure the severity of the injury and the degree of care or treatment needed. There are things you can do however to be able to measure roughly the degree of damage incurred by the head injury which could also help later in quickly informing the professional of the situation.

This is a bullet point response checklist, known as ‘AVPU code’, which can help you measure the level of consciousness and infer the extent of damage in the head injury casualty:

  • A – ‘alert’: Do they seem alert? Are their eyes open? Are they responding to questions?
  • V - ‘voice’: Do they respond to your voice? Can they follow simple commands?
  • P – ‘pain’: Do they react to pain? Do they respond if you pinch them, for example open their eyes or make a noise.
  • U – ‘unresponsive’: There is no response in the casualty.

These tests are to be taken in order and once there has been a reaction to one then the others become unnecessary. This is a simple way to measure basic responses in the casualty and work out their level of consciousness. From here you can inform a professional of the state of the casualty allowing them to treat them quicker based on this knowledge. Typically speaking, if the response is anything after ‘alert’ then it is likely that further, more definitive help and treatment is needed as it is more likely that the injury could be serious.