First Aid for Suspected Brain Injury
How to help someone with a brain injury:
Though you see many different TV shows where a character gets injured and then miraculously, two episodes later, they are perfectly healed, it is not the case in everyday life. In actual fact, a concussion, though usually shrugged off as being no big deal, is a risk that most athletes have to deal with when playing. It is a big deal especially left untreated! Here are some simple tips when you feel that someone may be suffering from a concussion and may need first aid for suspected brain injury:
- CALL AN AMBULANCE! Unless you are a doctor, you are not able to properly diagnose someone with a brain injury even if they are showing the classic signs and symptoms (nausea, headache, loss of consciousness, dizziness…).
- Get some help! Unless you are completely alone, an extra set of hands will always be needed and appreciated (whether to get supplies, crowd control, leading the emergency team to your victim or switching roles when performing CPR).
- Keep them comfortable You want to make sure that the victim is as comfortable as possible when waiting for the ambulance. This can include getting blankets to keep them warm or an ice pack if they find that it helps with the pain (if they do not find this comfortable, DO NOT INSIST). DO NOT PUT ANYTHING UNDER THEIR HEAD – this involves moving the victim and their injury and we want to avoid this as much as possible.
- Keep them talking! Keep them alert and responsive (if they close their eyes, it greatly increases the risk of them slipping into a coma). Ask them simple questions such as their name, where they live, their age, if they have any pets…
- Treatment! If they have any open wounds on their head or anywhere else, you can treat them if they are life threatening (like losing too much blood), but if it is a minor cut and you have to move the victim to treat it – LEAVE IT ALONE!