RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
R.I.C.E. - not just something you eat with sweet "n" sour pork!
It doesn't matter whether you are an A.F.L. football professional or you slog it out every Saturday in the local seconds, you may be injured. For the treatment of any injury the principles of R.I.C.E. should be applied immediately.
R.I.C.E. stands for:
R: Rest, means come off the playing field, have the injury assessed and if you cannot continue then apply:
I: Ice, 15 minutes every 2 hours. The application of cold reduces swelling, bleeding and consequently the severity of the injury.
C: Compression, following ice a tight elastic compression bandage should be applied and removed only for icing. Compression also helps to reduce the amount of swelling.
E: Elevation, keep the injured part above the level of the heart eg. don't let the ankle hang if you have sprained it.
The letter R should also be added to R.I.C.E.
R: Review, once you have applied these immediate acute principles, it is then essential to have the injury reviewed by either a suitably qualified sports physician or physiotherapist.
I have briefly outlined the Do's following injury. There are also certain Don't's which should be adhered to so as to reduce the severity of the injury.
These are H.A.R.M. factors:
H: Heat, increases bleeding.
A: Alcohol, increases swelling.
R: Running, exercising too soon can make an injury worse.
M: Massage, in the first 24 hours increases swelling and bleeding.
It's been a long, hot pre-season and we are all looking forward to a successful year, but success both personally and as a club can only be achieved if the coach has a full complement of players to choose from. Remember injuries are a fact of life.
Stick to these principles and you will reduce the severity of your injury and you will also reduce the amount of time you need to be absent from competition.
Marc Di Paolo