It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Injuries are common on the playing field, especially if the activity is too physical. Some injuries are caused by years of wear and tear in the body--aka chronic injuries--and these should be treated by a medical professional. On the other hand, there are acute traumatic injuries that are sustained by a single blow to a body part, and such injuries can be tended to with some basic first aid.
If the result of an acute traumatic injury is as serious as a fracture or a deep cut/laceration, the patient should be taken to a doctor immediately. However, if the injury is pertaining to a muscle--like a muscle pull--the player should be immediately taken off the field and allowed to rest. Since ice relaxes muscles and helps relieve spasms, it's best to apply ice to the injured muscle for about 20 to 30 minutes. Although it takes a while for a pulled muscle to recover, this will provide relief from the pain.
Remember, you are susceptible to muscle injuries even if you've warmed up sufficiently. The only way to avoid pulling a muscle is by not applying too much pressure in the wrong direction, which is of course, is not always possibly while playing sports.
Another common muscle ailment is cramps. This involuntary muscle contraction can happen almost without warning, and there's no proven way to aviod them. However, many experts claim that stretching exercises--prior to taking to the field--minimize cramps. It is also said that constant hydration of the body coupled with a diet rich in mineral-rich fruits and vegetables also help prevent muscle cramps.
However, the best way to deal with them, is to stretch the cramped muscle and gently massage it. Many athletes tend to have sports drinks, if they suffer from cramps in hot conditions. Remember, stay away from salt tablets when you get muscle cramps.
Another common, yet easily treatable injury is an ankle sprain. This usually happens when the foot is twisted and rolls over to the outside and it sprains the support ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Depending on the intensity of the injury, sprains are classified into mild, moderate and severe.
Needless to say, if it's a moderate or a severe sprain the injured player should be taken to a doctor. However, if it's a mild sprain, a combination of elevating the leg, applying ice to it and compression works best. Once the pain becomes bearable, the injured player should try to do some basic range-of-motion exercises. And, it if still hurts, put on an ankle brace--if it's available--before the patient is taken to a doctor.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not serve as medical advice.
-Picture courtesy Thinkstock-
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