What is a Combat Injury and How to Treat It
A combat injury is any physical harm or damage that occurs as a result of military action or violence. Combat injuries can be caused by various mechanisms, such as explosions, bullets, shrapnel, burns, falls, or vehicle crashes. Combat injuries can affect any part of the body and can range from minor to life-threatening.
Some of the common combat injuries include :
- Second and third degree burns
- Broken bones
- Shrapnel wounds
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Loss of sight and hearing
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Limb loss
The treatment of combat injuries depends on the type, severity, and location of the injury, as well as the availability of medical resources and personnel. Some general principles of combat injury treatment are:
- Stop the bleeding. Apply direct pressure, tourniquets, or hemostatic agents to control bleeding.
- Protect the airway. Ensure that the casualty can breathe and prevent aspiration of blood or vomit.
- Prevent shock. Elevate the legs, keep the casualty warm, and administer fluids if possible.
- Dress and bandage the wounds. Clean the wounds with sterile water or saline, apply antiseptic ointment, and cover with sterile dressings.
- Immobilize fractures and dislocations. Use splints, slings, or bandages to prevent further movement and damage.
- Administer pain relief. Give analgesics such as morphine or ketamine as needed.
- Evacuate the casualty. Transport the casualty to a higher level of care as soon as possible.
Combat injuries can have long-term physical and psychological consequences for the survivors and their families. Therefore, it is important to provide adequate follow-up care, rehabilitation, and support services for combat-injured veterans.
Another aspect of combat injury treatment is prevention. Combat injuries can be reduced by adopting various strategies, such as wearing protective equipment, following safety rules, maintaining physical fitness, and practicing good hygiene. Moreover, nutrition plays a vital role in preventing and recovering from combat injuries, as it affects the health and function of various tissues and organs.
Nutrition can influence the risk of injury by affecting factors such as body composition, muscle strength, bone density, tendon stiffness, ligament integrity, immune function, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Nutrition can also affect the recovery process by providing the necessary substrates for tissue repair, regeneration, and remodeling. Therefore, combat athletes should pay attention to their nutritional status and intake before, during, and after injury.
Some of the nutritional considerations for injury prevention and recovery in combat sports are:
- Meeting the energy requirements. Combat athletes should avoid energy deficits that can impair tissue function and healing. They should also avoid rapid weight loss practices that can increase the risk of injury and infection.
- Consuming adequate protein. Protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass, as well as supporting bone health and wound healing. Combat athletes should consume 1.6 to 2.0 g/kg/day of protein from high-quality sources.
- Ingesting sufficient carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main fuel for high-intensity exercise and brain function. They also spare protein from being used for energy and support immune function. Combat athletes should consume 5 to 10 g/kg/day of carbohydrates from complex and fiber-rich sources.
- Including healthy fats. Fats are important for hormone production, cell membrane structure, nerve function, and inflammation regulation. Combat athletes should consume 20 to 35% of their energy from fats, with an emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
- Optimizing micronutrient intake. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are involved in various metabolic processes that affect tissue health and recovery. Combat athletes should consume a balanced diet that provides adequate amounts of micronutrients, especially calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
- Using supplements wisely. Supplements can provide additional benefits for injury prevention and recovery when used appropriately and under professional guidance. Some of the supplements that may be beneficial for combat athletes are creatine, glutamine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), collagen peptides, curcumin, and antioxidants.
By following these nutritional guidelines, combat athletes can reduce their risk of injury and enhance their recovery process.