A surprisingly common injury suffered on the soccer pitch is a broken nose. A direct blow, perhaps from a clash of heads, an elbow in the air or even a ball to the face can cause a fracture and/or displacement of the cartilage. The signs and symptoms are quite obvious: excessive bleeding, possible deformity, difficulty breathing through the nose, and of course, extreme pain and swelling.
Immediately managing the injury is key. Make sure blood isn’t impeding the athlete’s airway and the player can breathe through his or her mouth. Treat for shock (keep them seated upright and warm) and keep monitoring breathing. Gently attempt to stop the bleeding by applying pressure below the bridge of the nose and place crushed ice over top of a wet towel to the injured area.
The athlete should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. This is NECESSARY – for both the proper alignment of the nose (surgery isn’t usually needed), as well as getting a professional assessment of any other possible head injury.
The athlete should only return to play after receiving medical clearance from a physician. Upon return, a protective face mask/shield should be worn to protect the nose.
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