A head injury is the result of direct contact with an object or the ground. It could include damage to the head, the skull or the brain itself. A head injury is usually a combination of all of these.
If the sports person has suffered a serious impact to his head, the bones in the skull could be broken. A huge force is required for this to happen. A skull fracture can go hand-in-hand with serious internal injuries. If there has been a significant impact to the head, you must also be aware that there could be a back injury too.
A serious head injury is also associated with damage to the brain. As a result of the injury, the function of the brain can be temporarily or permanently affected. Concussion is usually regarded as temporary disruption to the brain function, without lasting damage.
- The sports person has fallen from his bike, has a headache and could be confused
- Signs that there could be a skull fracture:
- Blood loss or loss of a clear fluid from the nose, mouth or ear
- A blue colour around the eyes (panda eyes)
- Signs that there could be brain damage:
- The sports person shows serious confusion in terms of awareness, such as drowsiness, restlessness, dizziness, memory loss or a lowered level of consciousness.
- The person concerned is averse to light and/or noise
- Blood loss from ears and/or nose
- The person makes abrupt movements or holds their arms/legs in a cramped, twisted position
- The person is breathing slowly
- They are sick after an accident
Be aware of the signs of a skull fracture or a brain injury. If in any doubt as to the seriousness of the situation, assume the worst and call the emergency services.
Calm the sports person down and try to stop him from moving. Immobilise his head and neck because head injuries may be linked to spinal column injuries. Take the head gently with both hands and hold steady until the emergency services arrive.