The R.I.C.E. Principle

The first four steps of first aid for injuries such as ankle sprains or sore elbows are known by the acronym ‘RICE', which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. These are good steps to follow in the hours and days after your child sustains an injury.

Rest: When your child is injured, small blood vessels at the injury site rupture, which, in turn, causes swelling. Because the swelling can cause more damage than the initial injury, it is important for your child to stop exercising immediately. Not only is rest important in the period immediately after your child is injured; adequate rest is necessary before your child returns to training. Returning too soon from an injury can cause further damage and result in a chronic complaint.

Ice: Apply ice continuously for the first 15 minutes after the injury occurs to reduce swelling. Then apply ice 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for the next hour. Wrap the ice in a towel or elastic wrap before applying it to the injured area – if applied directly, ice can freeze the skin. Because ice is so important, it is wise to make sure that it is available at training venues. If not, buy instant cold or gel packs. These are very convenient, but use caution, as they can become even colder than ice, and should therefore not be applied directly to the skin.

Compression: To prevent swelling, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage. Make sure the wrap is snug, but not so tight as to cut off circulation.

Elevation: For leg or arm injuries, raise the injured area above the heart to keep blood moving to the injured area. This helps prevent painful swelling in the immediate post-injury period.

Proper treatment of aches, pains and injuries is critical, but preventing injuries can be even more important. Here are a few ideas that parents of young golfers should consider.