So I sustained a minor injury yesterday. No I wasn’t out running on a remote trail in the wilds of Delaware (I prefer the roads and neighborhoods most of the time), but I was a scant .5 mile away from home in a neighboring development. I was running on the sidewalk as there were cars parked along the road when I looked up and saw a tree branch I was going to need to get under. I was about 1:40 into my long run and feeling really good so I went to duck under. I made the first branch and never saw the second branch which must of been lower, and I smacked myself right on top of the head.
So I saw stars for a moment, but quickly gathered myself. I thought to myself, “Wow, now what do I do?” Here’s was what I did, and while it might not be exactly as a medical professional may recommend, here’s my thought process…
(1) First thing, sit down and get low to the ground, because if you faint you have less distance to fall. I also thought that the faster my HR is reduced, the better.
(2) I applied immediate pressure with my hand. It hurt, but between the sweat and the blood I couldn’t tell how bad it was.
(3) I was on the lookout for light-headedness, nausea, and a headache. I waited about 5 minutes and didn’t sense any of these things. I also sensed that the bleeding was close to stopping.
(4) Call for help. I debated calling my wife to come and pick me up, but decided to walk it back home. I’m certain I looked ridiculous walking with my hand perched atop my noggin, but I wanted to walk slowly and still apply pressure. I drank the remaining bit of water I head left. Overall I felt more embarrassed than anything, and a little pissed to have such a great run derailed like this (I was gunning for 2 hours).
I got home and showed my wife. It was a fairly large cut, but very much on the surface and not much to be stitched. I jumped in the shower and cleaned up and the cut bled very slowly and very little. I applied anti-bacterial cream and left it open to air out.
I usually run around town with my FuelBelt with one pouch which holds my iPhone, a tin of EnergyBits or a gel, and sometimes some cash. It made my think of what I would’ve done if I were out on a remote trail somewhere. I did a little research and gathered some resources concerning first aid.
- This article has some fantastic resources, including several video clips. It pertains mostly to long range trail runners, but you can obviously trim down depending on your carry capacity or level of risk.
- The old tried-and-true RICE – adapt and use what you can either on the path or trail, or after you get back home to treatment.
- I think this blog nicely outlines basic treatment 101