BMX Racing First-Aid: Boring, but Necessary

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The spate of injuries at this year’s UCI BMX World Championships might just be a fluke, but it still calls attention the dangers inherent in this sport. It’s mostly fun and games, but we have to remember that BMX racing is basically hurtling at high speeds up and down steep hills, making death-defying flips, and performing tricks that are just not natural. All this stuff is great for bikers and fans of the sport, but it’s dangerous.

Plus, when we consider that most BMX racers aren’t performing in the controlled conditions of the world championships, the sport begins to seem even more dangerous. So, while it may not be the most exciting element of BMX racing, it helps to be reminded of the best first-aid practices for BMX bikers. Here’s how to respond to some of the most common BMX injuries:

1. Open cuts: Immediately get away from the dirt of the BMX track. Go inside, rinse the cut with fresh, clean water, and be sure to wipe away any dirt or grime. Disinfect the wound with hydrogen peroxide, and bandage the cut with clean medical tape or a sterile bandage. Apply pressure for enough time for the wound to stop bleeding. If the cut doesn’t stop bleeding, head to a hospital for possible stitches.

2. Broken or sprained ankles: First things first, don’t take off your shoe. Leave this to the medical staff. Your shoe might actually be stabilizing the injury, so don’t mess with it. Find two flat, wide objects and make a splint by attaching them to the ankle with gauze wrap. Then, with a little help, get to the emergency room for X-rays.

3. Broken or sprained wrists: Wrists are basically the same as ankles, except fortunately you do not have to worry about a shoe. It’s important to splint the wrist as soon as possible so that it doesn’t move around too much before you get to a doctor. Keep the forearm parallel to the ground, and get to the emergency room right away.

4. Head injuries are nothing to mess around with: If your buddy falls and hits his head hard, don’t dismiss it, even if he insists he’s okay. Head injuries can take time to develop, and the only way to make sure there’s no internal bleeding is to see a doctor. For less serious head impacts, make sure your buddy is not confused or disoriented. Ask what day it is, how many fingers you’re holding up, and so on. It may seem like a joke, but it’s nevertheless important.

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