Pitchside Treatment (1st Aid)

If you are injured during the game, the physio or a member of the medical team will come onto the pitch. They will ask you “where does it hurt (which body part)”? and “was it a knock or a twist”? On assessing the situation they will then administer 1stAid appropriate to the injury and will then either return you to the game or remove you from play for substitution

The International Rugby Board (IRB) recommend that we comply with the TOTAPS system following for all acute injuries.

Talk What happened? Where does it hurt?
Observe Look at the injured area. Is it different from the other side   (swollen, a different colour, etc)?
Touch Feel for swelling, tenderness and pain.
Active movement Ask the player to move the injured part without assistance.
Passive movement If the player moves the injured part actively, then carefully move it   through a full range of movement.
Skill test If the active and passive movements did not produce pain ask the   player to stand and see if lower limb is fully weight-bearing and he/she can   walk. If unable to do so, the player should be removed from the field (non   weight-bearing for lower limb injuries).


First Aid

The RFU states: Emergency first aid should only be given by appropriately trained persons.

Also the IRB states that individualplayers must have increased awareness in relation to injury prevention to their team mates and opponents. All players should be familiar with 1stAid care to an injured player on the field. It should be part of their training programme and a collective responsibility in a team setting”. This is why I have included some very specific advice below, No one is expecting you to be an expert but if you can spot something during play that can help a mate avoid injury then you should have a little know how:

The Primary role of 1stAid is to assess the severity of an injury. Then to make a fast and informed decision as to how best treat that injury.

This may be:

  • Stemming blood injuries and cleaning and dressing the wound appropriately
  • Strapping twisted joints / ligaments etc
  • or in more serious Emergency cases
  • Care for the unconscious casualty
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation


Note:While some sports injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse both during and after the game.

Most injuries on the pitch are indeed knocks or twists. Contusions / bruises caused by direct contact. Cuts, scratches or scrapes to the skin. Ligament, Muscle or tendon strain,or sprains.

More severe injuries include muscle, ligament or tendon ruptures. Bone Fractutres.
The IRB offers the following advice chart for soft tissue injuries:

Sprains, strains and bruising should be treated using the method known as PRICED.


Protect Once an injury has occurred, it is of vital importance that the   injured area and the player are protected from further injury. Failure to do   so risks worsening the problem and delaying healing.

Abrasions / lacerations should be covered.

The injured joint should be supported by taping or bracing.

Weight-bearing should be avoided.

Rest Adequate rest to enable tissue healing and repair is vital for any   injury. Remember – if it hurts, it is probably not good for the injury.
Ice Application of ice to an injury helps prevent bleeding and further   swelling. Regular use of ice is helpful in shortening recovery time and   decreasing pain in the interim. Apply ice to the injury for 8 mins   every 2 hours in the 1st 12 -24 hours post injury. This can be   raised to 20-30 mins after that time. Whatever the regimen,   protection of the skin with petroleum jelly or oil avoids unnecessary thermal   injury (Ice Burns).
Compression Compression of a haematoma prevents swelling and shortens recovery time.   Compression of soft tissue injury limits swelling.
Elevation Elevation of the affected area decreases swelling and pain.
Diagnosis Early diagnosis and correct management are the fastest route to   recovery.


Once the injury has been diagnosed, avoid any element of HARM for 72 hours.


Heat Can increase bleeding and swelling and worsen pain and stiffness.
Alcohol Can increase bleeding and swelling as well as masking pain and the   severity of the injury.
Running Rest is essential.
Massage Best avoided as it can increase bleeding and swelling, thereby   delaying recovery.


Numbness and Tingling

Never ignore numbness or tingling. Often related to nerve compression, these warning signs may indicate serious injury and should always be seen by the physio’.