Face & Head Injuries

If you have sustained any kind of head injury it is always advisable to seek medical attention immediately. A direct blow to the head can be a minor injury right through to something more serious or even death. Head injuries include trauma to the head or brain, concussion, facial injuries including the eyes and nose, and ear pain. Here we explain how to recognise and treat various head injuries as well as when to seek medical attention.

Head injuries in sport can range from a mild headache caused by impact or dehydration up to severe concussion or worse. A head injury should always be taken seriously and medical attention should be sought. Symptoms may also develop over time where the player feels ok initially but over the next few days more noticeable symptoms occur or become worse. Below we list a number of sports injuries causing a head injury.


Concussion is a very serious condition that is often seen in sport and more and more incidents are being reported in sport. It can range from very mild to very severe depending on the circumstances and it is usually caused by a sudden impact to the head from a traumatic (contact) event. Severe concussions can result in permanent brain injury or even death so all head injuries MUST be taken seriously. Concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a direct blow to the head. Read more on the symptoms and treatment of concussion.

Headaches In Sport

Headaches are an extremely common complaint. They vary in pain intensity, pattern and location from individual to individual. Although irritating the majority of headaches do not require medical intervention. Medical attention should be sought for a headache if it is new and unaccustomed or if you have regular headaches but they have changed in their pattern, intensity or frequency. Also if symptoms include drowsiness, numbness, stiff neck, weight loss or fever. Read more on headaches in sport.

Fractured Skull

A skull fracture is a break to one of the bones which form the head. These include the cranium at the back of the head, parietal bones on the side and frontal bone or forehead. Skull fractures occur due to an impact to the head from either a blunt or sharp object. Common examples in sports include collisions between players in contact sports such as rugby, where fractures to the cheek bones and nose are common. Read more on the symptoms and treatment of a skull fracture.


Migraines are a severe form of headache, usually accompanied by other symptoms. These are often related to vision although may also include other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness or pins and needles. A migraine is a severe headache. It can be classified as with or without 'Aura'. Aura is one or more other symptoms which usually occur before the migraine really sets in. Those who suffer regularly with migraines learn to see this as a warning signal. Read more on treatment for migraines.

View all injuries that cause head pain

Facial injuries include fractures of the bones of the face and jaw and are usually caused by direct impact or trauma. Similarly, many eye injuries are caused by foreign body or infection in the eye. As with any head injury, it is advisable to seek medical advice with any injury to the face, eyes or teeth.


Nose bleeds occur usually after an impact to the nose and may be associated with a fracture. However, they can occur after relatively minor injuries or be completely spontaneous. Bleeding may occur from either one or both nostrils. Blood flow can range from very light to heavy and may last for a few seconds to 10 minutes or more. Blood in the throat may cause nausea. Read more on causes and treatment for nose bleeds.

Facial Fractures

Facial fractures are breaks in any of the bones which form the face. These are the mandible or lower jaw, maxilla consisting of upper jaw and nose and the zygomatic bones or cheeks. Symptoms vary depending on location and severity, but generally include instant pain, swelling and bruising usually appears. Cuts may be present, especially when the injured was caused by a sharper item. Read more on facial fractures.

Detached Retina

A detached retina occurs when the lining at the back of the eye starts to pull away from the blood vessels at the back of the eye. This can lead to blindness so should be treated quickly. Symptoms include the appearance of floaters within the vision. These are dark spots which appear to drift or float in front of the eye. Vision may be blurred and the patient may see flashes of light in the eye or a shadow across their field of vision. A detached retina is most often caused by a direct trauma to the eye from a blunt object. It is a common injury in boxers

Read more on treatment for a detached retina.

Black Eye

A black eye is a bruising of the soft tissues surrounding the eye. Also known as an eye contusion it usually happens following an impact or trauma to the eye. Symptoms of a black eye are are often difficult not to notice! Bruising and swelling occurs around the eye which will be painful and tender. It may not be possible to fully open the eye and vision could be impaired in more serious cases. Read more on treatment for a black eye.

View all injuries causing face and eye injuries.

Injuries to the ear include Cauliflower ear which is a swelling or deformity due to impact and is common in contact sports such as Rugby. If you have an ear injury, particularly one which has affected your hearing it is important to seek medical attention. Other ear conditions include Swimmers ear, Earwax, Glue ear and a Perforated eardrum.