Sports Emergencies and their Care


Sports Emergencies and their Care

In this article, you will be exposed to, how first aid care should be rendered in life-threatening situations. You will be taught how to clear an obstructed airway and restore breathing if possible. Above all, you should be able to use first aid care on all these life-threatening situations.

By the end of the post, you should be able to mention life-threatening conditions which may require emergency treatment, explain how an obstructed airway should be cleared and describe how breathing can be restored in a casualty that is not breathing.


First Aid Care for Life-Threatening Emergencies

Sports Emergencies and their Care

Life-threatening conditions which require emergency treatment are experienced when:

1. There is an obstruction in the airway or air passages.

2. Breathing has stopped.

3. There is severe bleeding.

4. There is a case of poisoning.

Each of these conditions may lead to serious damage to the vital organs (e.g. brain, heart) or death within a few minutes if proper first aid care is not given immediately.

Therefore, each requires the provision of urgent care. Since hardly anyone is prepared for them, the best thing to do is to familiarize oneself with the measures to take when confronted with any of them.


Clearing Obstructed Airway

Blocked or obstructed airway leads to respiratory failure (Asphyxia). 

In an unconscious casualty, the epiglottis which acts as the protective mechanism by preventing any foreign matter such as food or fluid from entering the windpipe (trachea) fails to function.

This provides a dangerous opportunity for saliva, blood, or regurgitated stomach contents (vomit) to be entering the windpipe thereby blocking the airway. Besides, there is the possibility of constriction around the neck or the tongue falling to the back of the throat to block the airway if the victim is left lying on his or her back.

When any of these obstructions take place, noisy breathing is experienced, if breathing has not stopped entirely. In order to open the airway, the casualty's chin is lifted forwards with the index and middle fingers of one hand while pressing, the forehead backwards with the heel of the other hand.

In this open airway position, the airway should be cleared by turning the victims head to one side, keeping it well back. Then if the foreign body is visible in the mouth or throat the first two fingers are used to remove or hook out the obstruction.

Moreover, fingers can be used to sweep around inside the mouth to remove obstructions without wasting time searching for hidden ones. This may cause vomiting with the removal of the foreign body. Trained ambulance personnel may provide mechanical suckers or suction tubes for this purpose. Where the above methods fail to remove the obstruction from the throat the casualty should lean forward and be struck firmly on the back between the shoulders.

If all these methods fail, the only hope is a tracheostomy performed by a doctor or in desperate circumstances by a highly-skilled first aider or trained nurse. Tracheostomy involves cutting into the middle of the trachea or windpipe below the larynx (Adam's apple) and inserting a small tube.


Restoring Breathing

In order to determine whether or not a casualty is breathing, the first aider should place his ear above the casualty's mouth and look along the chest and abdomen. If the casualty is breathing, the breaths will be heard and felt and the movement along the chest and abdomen will be observed.

In order to discover whether or not the heart has stopped beating, the pulse should be checked at the neck by placing the fingertips gently on the voice box and sliding them down into the hollow between the adjoining muscles. This is referred to as carotid pulse.

A situation where pulse is present and another situation where there is no pulse will require different approaches. In the first case, breathing is restored by giving the victim immediate Artificial Respiration.

In the case where the heart has stopped beating, i.e. no pulse, a combination of artificial ventilation (respiration) and chest compression is carried out. This combined approach is known as Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).


Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a Victim

However, certain swift preliminary investigations or activities must be completed before artificial respiration is administered. 

The first major requirement is that the cause of the respiratory failure should be determined and removed or rectified.

Breathing failure may result from such conditions as:

a. Blocked airway.

b. Electric shock.

c. Breathing air that lacks sufficient oxygen.

d. Inhalation of large quantities of carbon monoxide.

Specifically, these conditions should be rectified by one or a combination of: opening airway, supplying adequate air (or oxygen), or removing the casualty from the cause, or the cause from the casualty.

In conclusion, having gone through this unit on sports emergencies and how to carry out first aid treatment on these emergencies you should be able to clear an obstructed airway and also help to restore breathing in such emergencies.

This article have  exposed you to  life-threatening emergencies and how you can be handled. You also learnt how blocked airways can be cleared and restoring breathing to the casualty where necessary.

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