In case you missed it, this is what happened to LeBron James in the final 10 seconds of game 7 in the NBA finals yesterday... He went for the dunk, got fouled by Draymond Green, and hit the court (hard) wrist-first.
What happened next confused a few people, and made some people question whether it was a legitimate injury at all. The head trainer came on court, spent 20 seconds looking at the wrist, didn't put ice on in, and sent him straight to the free-throw line.
It might seem callous, or even dangerous, but it was absolutely the right thing to do!
I wasn't on-court, so I can't swear as to what was said, but as a former sports trainer myself, I can give a well-informed guess that the trainer did 2 things:
1. Checked for any immediate risk (bleeding, broken bone, etc.)
2. Asked LeBron if he felt well enough to play the last 10sec
If there is no immediate risk to his or anyone else' safety, and if he feels as if he can play the final 10sec of the game, there is no need for the trainer to bench him. And, if he was going to continue playing, ice would have been detrimental, both to LeBron's playing ability, and to the health of his wrist.
Ice slows blood flow, and contracts local muscle and connective tissue – that's why we use it for decreasing inflammation. However, decreased blood flow and constricted muscle tissue becomes a liability if you're going to try to exercise those muscles. It decreases flexibility and range of motion; and it greatly increases the risk of muscle contusions and tears.
If you're going to learn something from game 7, then remember not to ice an injury if you plan on playing on it.
For more information on injury first-aid, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark