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Treating a Nosebleed

Injuries to the face are common in soccer, most often occurring though direct impact with either a soccer ball or collision between players. When there is trauma to the face a nosebleed can occur. Knowing how to properly treat a nosebleed can help minimize disruption and anxiety. When managed appropriately players can often return to the field with peace of mind.

Andy Hylton, physician assistant and former professional soccer player, says there are two types of nosebleeds – ones that disrupt the anterior chamber of the nose, and others that affect the posterior. The nose is filled with many small blood vessels that can be disrupted or break after exposure to excessive force.

90 percent of trauma based nosebleeds occur in the anterior chamber, according to Andy. These accidents should not alarm parents and coaches, however it is important to be proactive and minimize blood loss.

To properly treat a nosebleed, step one is to slow down the bleeding. Despite what players, parents or coaches may think, it is okay and expected for the blood to drain temporarily after impact.

Andy recommends the following treatment steps for a nosebleed:

  1. Have the player bend forward at the waist.
  2. Squeeze the bridge of the nose, applying pressure.
  3. Apply ice to the bridge of the nose while squeezing the area.
  4. Gauze packets can be placed inside the nose if needed.

In most cases, the nosebleed will stop within a couple minutes. If the bleeding does not slow down and is not improving, Andy says it may be sign of something more serious and should be evaluated by a medical provider.

 Andy Hylton is a physician assistant with OrthoCarolina Pineville and a former professional soccer player. His suggestions are guidelines and treatment steps for some of the most common soccer injuries. In case of an emergency you should always call 911.

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