Wow! I found an amazing article on Navita La Jiu Jitera’s blog. It was so good that for the first time I contacted a blog owner and asked if I could “reprint” her article on my blog. As of this posting, she is a 2 stripe purple, based out of Washington state. Go give her blog some love! http://navitabjj.blogspot.com/
After a slightly gross accident at jiu jitsu tonight I decided it would be a good idea to write a basic first aid post on how to fix some of the most common injuries and accidents. This will in no way give you any form of first aid, CPR, or AED training/ certification. It will hopefully help prevent, nasty spills, and if you can start to gauge how bad an injury is, then you can take the proper precautions and not do something to injure someone more than they already are. I have worked in the aquatics field for about 10 years. I started out as a lifeguard and have worked up to a management position. I have dealt with all kinds of minor and major medical emergencies. Even though I have training and certifications, I’m not an EMT nor doctor. I’m just going to go over frequent injuries we see in our sport and how to respond to them. Oh and the picture to the right is what happened at jiu jitsu practice. Someone was bleeding and obviously wasn’t able to get it to stop.
Side notes and Warnings
- If you are going to be helping someone with an injury, always wear gloves, no offense to your friends and teammates but you don’t know what they have and you don’t want to catch anything.
- Gauze is the normal thing to use to catch blood, it’s clean sterile and it’s made to specifically for first aid. If there isn’t gauze that’s fine. Paper towel, toilet paper, whatever, can be used as a substitute, but make sure you catch all the small pieces of debris it may leave.
- I will be using sample pictures. Which means some may be gross, this is your warning, do not be mad at me if you stumble on something that you didn’t want to see.
- When in doubt err on the safe side, if it look bad call 9-1-1, or get ahold of someone that can take them to the hospital.
1. Nose Bleed
We all know it happens, accidental elbows, falling face first into the ground. Nose bleeds are fairly common, but people seem to try and care for them differently. A quick and simple way to control a nose bleed when it happens is to sit up, lean slightly forward and pinch the nose at the bridge. Have gauze under the nose to catch any extra blood. If the blood does not slow you can also put ice on the back of the neck. If the blood does not stop or slow after 15 min. seek medical attention.
A few things to not do:
1. Do not lean your head back, swallowing blood isn’t ideal.
2. Do not force anything up into the nostril to catch blood. The blood may slow but when you go to remove the tissue, it can aggravate the nose and cause it to bleed again
2. Soft tissue injuries
These can be anything from bruises, blisters, cuts, etc. If it appears to be a shallow cut, use gauze to cover the bleeding, apply direct pressure, cover with a band aid and you are good to go!
If it is deep and seems to be gaping, or if it is spurting medical attention may be needed. The deeper or more severe the laceration (cut) seems to be the more important it is to control the bleeding by direct pressure, or pressure at a major pressure point (not the Japanees jiu jitsu thing but the major points that control bleeding). Keep the person looking at you and not at the blood, someone going into shock is not fun.
If there is an imbedded object do not pull it out, try to stabilize the object and take them to the doctor. You don’t know how deep it is, if there is more left behind, or what it is stopping from bleeding.
Going on unconscious at jiu jitsu is tricky. I am going to only talk about unconsciousness when it happens because of not tapping in time. Simply roll the person on their back, lift their feet about a foot off the ground and wait. The circulation of blood to the brain will return but the person will most likely be dazed and confused. Some people jolt, or make weird noises when they come to, it is normal, just weird the first time it happens.
Any other time someone goes unconscious, call 911. If you’re not trained in what to do, be safe call 911, if they wake up before 911 gets there EMS will at least check them out and make sure they are okay before leaving.
4. Concussions/ Head Injuries.
Concussions can range from mild to severe. A good hit can definitely do some damage. Symptoms of head injuries include headache, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, weakness, hematoma (fluid filled bump) at sight of impact, difficulty focusing eyes, difficulty standing, and eyes not dilating/ constricting to changes in light. Because head injuries can cause many underlying problems, if someone gets a head injury and their symptoms worsen, or they go unconscious seeing a doctor is highly recommended.
If someone gets a head injury, do not move them, let them decide when to move. If there is any bump or bruise forming ice as quickly as possible. Ask simple questions to see if they can remember/ understand. If the person starts vomiting, goes unconscious, or is unable to stand and walk on their own they need to seek immediate medical attention.
5. Heat Related Emergencies
Heat related emergencies can be anything from dehydration due to training, up to heat stroke. Not all schools have air conditioning, or not all practices are cool. If you’re not protecting yourself properly something small can easily escalate to something life threatening. Symptoms for heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, extreme thirst, nausea, vomiting, weak, and or dizzy. If it progresses through to heat stroke, the symptoms are altered mental status, hot skin, seizures, and unconsciousness. The best way to treat heat emergencies is to get them into a cool shaded area, remove loose clothing (gi’s), give them preferably a cool sports drink, if there is not a sports drink cool water, apply cold compresses to back of neck, armpits and groin. If the person is showing symptoms of heat stroke, call 911.
6. Broken bones, Dislocations, etc.
Broken bones, dislocations, fully torn muscles, anything that has to do with majorly injuring the skeletal system has relatively similar care and symptoms. Symptoms will be discoloration, swelling, limbs or joints pointing in the wrong direction, severe pain, deformity, and protruding bones. The care for broken or dislocated anything is pretty simple. Touch it as little as possible, and move it as little as possible. If they have it in a position that hurts the least, leave it that way, and either call 911 or help them get transported to the hospital to get it taken care of. Too much moving will cause lots of pain. Do not try to ‘pop it back in’ If you’re not trained to re position or realign it, don’t do it! If the person does have a protruding bone, cover the area lightly with gauze and have them keep their focus on anything other than the injury.
Finally clean up for any form of bodily fluid make sure to glove up, use disinfectant, and disposable paper towels. Wrap everything in a trash bag Tie the trash bag closed and dispose of it safely. If you get blood on your clothing make sure to remove clothing if possible and clean them as quickly as possible. Do not leave messes for others to try and clean, you never know what you may have swimming in your body that can be transferred to others. Finally, after you’re done with cleaning, make sure to wash your hands, and anywhere you may have gotten blood on yourself.
So there you go! 6 injuries that happen in our sport. The first three are the most common but in the off chance something a little more severe does happen these basic things can greatly help. Remember whenever in doubt get someone else over there who may have more experience with injuries and have them help.
I hope this helped even a little bit, if you have more exact questions you want answered about basic first aid I would love to answer any questions!!!
Thanks again to Kaitlin Carlucci for the permission to reprint her article! Again, go give her blog some love! http://navitabjj.blogspot.com/