Sportz Connection





Acute Injuries
Acute Injuries

Acute Injuries (2)

What is an Acute Injury?

Acute injuries are the most obvious of all injuries and are usually the result of a single, traumatic event such as: hit by ball, plant and twist, collision with opponent and are followed by an immediate onset of symptoms including swelling, pain, bleeding, and possible deformity. Types of injuries that are considered acute are: a broken bone, small fractures, ankle sprain, pulled muscles or some type of dislocation.

R_I_C_EAll of these types of injuries require immediate removal from the game/practice. Most acute sports injuries can be treated safely at home using the R.I.C.E. principle. The acronym stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

The principles of R.I.C.E. should be used for the first 48 to 72 hours immediately after an injury. The goal during this time frame is to control the amount of swelling to the injured area, preventing further injury, and reducing pain. Following these principles can effectively reduce the amount of swelling in an injured area and reduce the amount of time required for rehabilitation.

Rest helps to protect the injured area from any further injury. Rest also allows the body to direct its energy towards healing most effectively.

Bags of ice, cold packs, even frozen veggies can be used to provide cold to the injured area. Cold provides short term pain relief, but most importantly by reducing blood flow to the injured area, it limits swelling. Ice should be applied as soon as possible (within 15 minutes if possible) to help keep any swelling from getting too bad.

Ice should be applied for 15-20 minutes at a time. Ideally, ice packs should be made of crushed ice because the crushed ice is more comfortable for the athletes and conforms to the contours of the injured area better than cubed ice. A light barrier should be placed between the skin and the ice bag (paper towel) to prevent injury to the skin during the application of the ice. Areas with little fat or muscle like toes should be treated for less time to avoid possibility of frost bite. Wrapping bags of ice in a towel can help prevent skin irritation.

Ice can be applied on a regular basis after the onset of the injury and is typically most effective within the first 72 hours.

Like ice, compression helps to limit swelling and support the injured area. An ACE bandage can be used to provide compression. Care should be taken not to wrap the area too tight, if it throbs or changes color, it is wrapped too tight.

Elevating the injured area also helps to reduce swelling. The most effective elevation raises the injured area above the level of the heart if bleeding, or if no bleeding is occuring, then just elevated to above the hips.

Serious Injuries

If there are signs or symptoms of a serious injury such as deformity, severe swelling and/or pain, emergency first aid should be provided while keeping the athlete calm and still until emergency service personnel arrive on scene.

Whether an injury is serious or not there is never a good reason to try to "work through" the pain of an injury. When you have pain from a particular movement or activity, STOP! Continuing the activity only causes further harm. Some injuries require prompt medical attention, while others can be self-treated.

You should call a health professional if:

  • the injury causes severe pain, swelling, or numbness
  • you can't tolerate any weight on the area
  • the pain or dull ache of an old injury is accompanied by increased swelling or joint abnormality or instability

If you don't have any of the above symptoms, it's probably safe to treat the injury at home, at least at first. If pain or other symptoms worsen, it's best to check with your doctor.


On September 5th, 2008 then 18 year old LaQuan (Isaiah) Phillips awoke like any other high school football player, excited and ready to play some football. Little did he know that day would forever change his life. This story has been covered by local news several times but the story you'll find below is from LaQuan himself and in his own words with some help of the LVSF Staff. We are proud to have LaQuan on board with us one of our newest Youth Sports Safety Advocates! He will be joining us in our community outreach to help spread the…
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 10:33

Warm-up exercises may help prevent ACL injuries

Written by
Adolescent female soccer players experience anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injuries at a rate twice that of their male counterparts. This study looked at whether these serious injuries can be prevented. A total of 4,600 females between the ages of 12 and 17 participated in the study. Two-thirds were instructed in how to perform a 15-minute warm-up program focusing on new control and core stability.  Seven players in the intervention group, and 14 in the control group experienced ACL injuries. The rate of ACL injury was 64 percent lower in the intervention group.  Read the full Chicago Tribune article here.