I wanted to respond to this question sent in via email from what I think is a Martial Artist. Being active in martial arts myself (TKD and BJJ) I completely understand the question sent in from Michael about eye injuries, face injuries and teeth problems.
Like any trauma, there can be several things to think about right away. Is there a more serious injury that is being missed because of the blood coming from the face(distracting injury)? Maybe a head injury, brain swelling, breathing problems, neck injury, broken bone, etc. If no life threatening situation, then we may have some more time to think about how bad the injury really is.
If ever there is a loss of sight, loss of limb or loss of life, the answer is simple. Activate your medical emergency services RIGHT AWAY and support the patient with CPR and First Aid. If no life threatening emergency, glove up, clean up the patient and see what’s going on. If the person has an eye injury that makes them unable to see or may be the result of a poking injury, get them to the ER for examination. If the person has a hematoma(blood under skin) that is making their eye swell and unable to open, it may be a good idea to get a cold pack on it right away and then get to doctor or ER for reduction of hematoma, stitches, tetanus shot etc.
Loose, broken or missing teeth? Dentist right away. Anything less then these may buy you some time to see if it gets better or worse. We have all been hurt while sparring but it’s the possible tears, broken bones, eyes and teeth that we don’t want to let go too far without treatment. Remember, if in doubt, call your 911 (EMS) or doctor and run the situation by them. Get a second opinion and see if they want you to come in or treat with first aid.
Now a reminder on prevention. Head gear, mouth-guards, face shields and proper guards are all essential to the prevention and reduction of needless injuries during contact sports. Yeah I know, they’re clumsy and usually not needed but if you’ve ever been kicked, hit or struck in the wrong place you can appreciate their protective abilities. Remind new people that sparring means practice with control not out and out fighting. Warn your sparring partners of injured areas and communicate when things are not going right. Whenever your in doubt about an injury…see a doctor.
I hope this helps. Be Well.