Kickboxing and Boxing Duty of Care Essentials
Steps for comprehensive immediate attention for the Injured Client or Athlete
Very important to know for boxing or kickboxing courses, self defense or pad trainer classes, and more
Although Punchfit Pad training has been designed with risk and injury reduction as a major consideration, boxing and kickboxing workouts by their very nature may be prone to injury depending on circumstances. The opportunity for injury is far more likely in the case of unprofessional instruction, poor equipment or preparation, over training and fatigue or as a consequence of squad training and sparring.
In the case of sports injury, there’s a lot of information about best practice treatment options during the first forty eight to seventy two hours after the injury. Arguably, the most effective, initial treatment for soft tissue injury is the R.I.C.E.R regime involving the application of (R) rest, (I) ice, (C) compression, (E) elevation and (R) referral to appropriate medical treatment.
Most professional sports physicians would agree the R.I.C.E.R regime is the best form of treatment post injury, but what about immediately after the injury occurs? During the first three to four minutes?
Imagine this scenario…
You’re the Kick Pad Instructor for a Group X class and one of the participants is hit in the head while pad training with a partner. You don’t see the offending punch, but catch the client as they fall to the ground. As you race over to the client, you are not sure whether the punch made direct contact or glanced off. Regardless, there’s no time to waste. What do you do next?
What you do in the next three minutes will have more of an effect on the seriousness of the injury, and the client’s ability to recover, than what happens in the next seventy two hours.
Here’s some advice for managing just such a scenario:
Priority Number One: Avoid Further Damage!
Check to see if the injured client is in any further danger. If so, you need to control it; by stopping the class or alternatively removing the client. In respect to head trauma it is best not to move the client until further assessment deems it safe given the absence of severe injury that may be exasperated with movement.
Priority Number Two: Illicit a Response
Once the immediate danger is removed, you need to get a response from them. Ask if they can hear you, can they open their eyes, do they know what their name is?
Priority Number Three: Act accordingly depending on the client’s response level
If you can’t get a response, call an ambulance or doctor immediately. Check their airway, breathing and circulation. Depending on their status perform the necessary first aid, i.e. give CPR if they are not breathing or place them in the recovery position if they are breathing but are not conscious, being careful with their neck and head.
Alternatively, if you do get a response apply the S.T.O.P. regime, i.e.
- Stop – Stop the injured client from moving! They must stay as still as possible to prevent further damage and allow you to assess the injury.
- Talk – Ask the client what happened; how did it happen; what did you feel; where does it hurt; does it hurt anywhere else; and have you injured this part before? In the case of head injury ask for any signs of headache, neck pain, tingling in their arms or hands, blurry vision or trouble breathing.
- Observe – While talking to the injured client take a mental note of what the player is doing. Are they holding themselves in a strange way? Are they lying in an unusual position? Is there swelling or bleeding at the injury site? Is the injured area deformed or out of shape? Is there a difference when compared to the other limb or side? Is it sore or tender to touch? Can the player move the injured part?
- Prevent further damage – It’s time to make an assessment of the seriousness of the injury
- Is it a negligible injury? – Is it a minor impact without a bump or a bruise that does not impair the client’s physical performance? If so, allow them to continue if they wish, but monitor the injury and apply the R.I.C.E.R. regime just to be on the safe side.
- Is it a minor injury? – Is it a sprain, strain or severe bruise that impairs the client’s ability to participate? If so, remove the client from the class and apply the R.I.C.E.R. regime as soon as possible.
- Is it a severe injury? – Does the injury affect the head, neck, face or spinal cord? Does it involve shock, excessive bleeding, or bone fractures and breaks? Seek professional help immediately.
Ok your 3 minutes are up and you’ve successfully prevented any further damage, taken time to assess the injury and recommended an appropriate treatment strategy – fulfilling your duty of care to the client by responding professionally to the incidence of injury and thereby minimizing serious complications or further injury.
Importantly, when taking any class, always have access to immediate professional medical assistance by ambulance or otherwise. Head injury can be complicated and life threatening so it is advised all types of head injury be examined by a Doctor to ensure that no underlying complications are in play.
Article by Dr. Phil Mason
Sports Chiropractor and Author
Sydney 2000 Olympics Team USA
ABC Guide to Fit Kids, Murdoch Books, 2008.
For Punchfit boxing courses, Pad trainer classes, Kickboxing courses, Muay Thai classes, Self defense courses or Boxercise classes visit the site www.punchfit.com