Football Injuries



Footballer’s unfortunate fall results in neck injury: first aid

June 03 2024 | Articles

If a football player suffers a neck injury after a fall, it is important to administer first aid correctly and quickly to minimise the risk of serious complications. Here are the steps to take.

Assess the traumatic situation

  • Make sure the scene is safe for you and the injured person.
  • Do not move the casualty unless absolutely necessary (e.g., threat of further injury).
  • Support the head and neck. Secure the casualty’s head and neck in the position they are in by using your hands or other means (e.g. rolled up towels). This will prevent further displacement of the spine.
  • Reassure the casualty not to move. Ask him/her to keep his/her head and neck still to avoid further injury.

Assess the casualty’s condition

  • Check for breathing and pulse. If the casualty is not breathing or has no pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (if you are trained).
  • Call an ambulance immediately by calling the emergency number (911 or equivalent number in your country).
  • Inform the operator of the possible neck injury and the casualty’s condition.

Support the casualty

  • Monitor breathing and consciousness. Continue to monitor the casualty’s breathing and level of consciousness until the ambulance arrives.
  • Calm the casualty. Speak to the casualty calmly to reduce panic and fear.
  • Do not attempt to reposition the cervical vertebrae or reposition the head and neck yourself.
  • Do not remove the helmet (if the casualty is wearing a helmet) unless you have specialised training.

These measures will help minimise the risk of further injury and ensure that you wait as safely as possible for medical help to arrive.

Handy tools for applying a splint

If you need to apply a splint to immobilise your neck or limbs but do not have special medical equipment, you can use improvised means. Here are some examples:

Neck immobilisation

Rolls of towels or blankets:

  • Roll towels or blankets into tight rolls and gently place them on either side of the victim’s neck to restrict head movement.
  • Secure the rolls with bandages, scarves, or tape to keep them in place.

Magazines or newspapers:

  • Roll magazines or newspapers into tight tubes and wrap them around the neck, creating an improvised splint.
  • Secure them with bandages or tape to keep the splint stable.

Immobilising the limbs

Wooden sticks or boards:

  • Find straight and fairly rigid objects such as sticks, planks or even ski poles and use them to support the injured limb.
  • Tie them to the limb using bandages, ropes, straps or strips of cloth to secure the limb in a stationary position.


  • Take a piece of heavy cardboard and fold it lengthwise to create rigidity. Apply it to the injured area.
  • Secure the cardboard with bandages or string.


  • Fold shirts, jackets or trousers in several layers to create a stiff surface and use them to support the injured limb.
  • Secure the clothing with straps, ropes, or strips of cloth.

Plastic or metal objects:

  • Plastic bottles, rulers, umbrellas, or other similar items can serve as a temporary splint.
  • Tie them to the limb with ropes, bandages, or strips of cloth.

Place a soft pad (such as a towel or cloth) between the splint and the casualty’s skin to avoid friction and additional pain.

Make sure the splint is securely fastened, but not too tight so that circulation is not impaired.

Check the limb regularly for signs of impaired circulation, such as discolouration, numbness or coldness.

These aids will help provide temporary immobilisation until professional medical help arrives.



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