Facial injuries account for about 8% of all sports related injuries. Although facial injuries may bleed profusely, the practitioner should not be distracted from the basic principles of the management and treatment of a seriously injured player.
As stated in chapter one – “The treatment of a seriously injured or ill player requires rapid assessment of the injuries or illness and initiation of the appropriate life or limb saving care in a safe environment. - a systematic approach is required”
Once the primary survey and any necessary resuscitation has been completed, there needs to be assessment and management of any other injuries during the secondary survey. This is where facial injuries will usually be considered.
In the sporting environment, patients with facial injuries are usually able to protect their own airway. However, if the patient has a reduced conscious level, a significant midface fracture or is bleeding into the nasopharynx or oral cavity, then the airway may be at risk especially if the player is laid supine. The management of airway problems have been covered in the first chapter.
It is crucial that the secondary survey is conducted in a structured manner. In this way both soft and hard tissues are examined, with nothing being missed including crucially the oral cavity.