On-Field Management of Sports Emergencies

Abstract

Injuries are the last thing anyone wants to see at a sporting event. They nevertheless do occur, and an important function of the team physician is the ability to deal with emergency situations should they arise. Certain emergency scenarios occur with sufficient frequency on the playing field as to require team physicians or other clinicians responsible for the care of injured athletes to be familiar with the initial management of their injuries, pending the provision of care at a higher level. Apart from the preventive value of knowing how and when such emergencies may arise, these steps may decrease the likelihood of worsening an injury and allow an injured athlete a greater and more rapid chance of regaining full function. The emergency situations that must be addressed include the acute management of an athlete with a possible injury to the cervical spine and the unconscious athlete in whom such an injury cannot be ruled out. The team physician must also be familiar with the management scheme for concussion and other head injuries at the site of their occurrence. Beyond this, the team physician must be familiar with initial management of heatstroke, cardiac events, and dislocations of major joints in the members of an athletic team.

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