Over the last few years, contact sports have become much more aware of the effects of Head Injuries as they can be life threatening!


Three conditions you need to be aware of when dealing with head injuries:



This is cause by ‘shaking’ of the brain. The brain is cushioned by fluid so if it receives a blow then it can bounce from side to the other.


  • May become unconscious for a short period of time, after which levels of response should improve.
  • Full recovery should be made if no complications are present.
  • Memory loss (of the incident) and repeating things are common.
  • Pale, clammy skin, a mild headache and nausea.



Caused by bleeding or swelling within the skull, compression is a very serious condition because the brain is literally squashed.


  • Casualty could have a recent history of head injury, appears to have made a full recovery and then deteriorates.
  • Confusion and levels of consciousness become worse as the condition develops.
  • Flushed, dry skin, intense headache and nausea.


Fractured Skull

This is serious because the broken bone may directly damage the brain, or cause bleeding, which in turn results in compression. Suspect a skull fracture with any casualty who has received a head injury, especially if they have lowered levels of consciousness


  • Signs and symptoms of concussion and compression may be present
  • Swelling or bruising of the head, around one or both eyes, or behind an ear.


So what can I do about it?

  1. Call 999 for help if the casualty has been unconscious, their levels of consciousness deteriorate or you suspect a fractured skull.
  2. If the casualty is unconscious, keep them still and constantly monitor their breathing. If you are struggling to keep the airway clear then place them into the recovery position, but keep the head, neck and body in line as you turn them.
  3. If your casualty is conscious, help them to lie down. Keep the head, neck and body in line.
  4. Control any bleeding by applying gentle pressure to the wound. If there is bleeding or discharge from the ear, don’t try and stop the bleeding!
  5. For the next few days a casualty should go to hospital if they suffer from: worsening headache, nausea, vomiting, increased drowsiness, dizziness, weakness in arms or legs, speech problems, seizures or confusion.

Want to know more? Attend a training course which covers this topic:

QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (QCF)
QA Level 2 Award in Emergency First Aid At Work (QCF)
QA Level 2 Award In Basic Life Support and Safe Use of an Automated External Defibrillator (QCF)
QA Level 2 Award in Basic Life Support and Management of Anaphylaxis (QCF)
QA Level 3 Award in Paediatric First Aid (QCF)

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