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Evaluating an Injured Athlete

Field Exam

1. Do not move the athlete.
Do not remove the helmet.
Do not use ammonia inhalants, which may cause the head to jerk from the noxious stimulus.
Do not give liquids or food.
Do not rush the evaluation.
Do not worry about delaying the game.
If the athlete is unresponsive, alert other medical personnel and coaches, and call for an ambulance. The medical staff should then proceed with CPR steps as necessary. If the athlete is not breathing, start rescue breathing.

2. Evaluate mental status, symptoms, mechanism of injury, rule out neck injury, give a physical exam of injured area, slowly have athlete sit up, reevaluate, help athlete walk to sidelines.

3. The first responder at the scene of an athletic injury needs to be able to recognize a life-threatening condition, provide emergency care, and facilitate transportation to a medical facility when indicated. An orderly, logical primary assessment on the field can help identify serious conditions promptly and guide further evaluation and treatment. 

Courtesy of Ohio State University