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©William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Describe the anatomy of the head, face, eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

  • Explain how injuries to the head, face, eyes, ears, nose, and throat can be prevented.

  • Discuss the assessment process in dealing with injuries to the head and face.

  • Discuss recognition and management of concussions and mild head injuries.

  • Recognize common injuries to the face, eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

Injuries to the region of the head, face, eyes, ears, nose, and throat are common in sports. The severity of injuries to this region can vary from something as benign as a nosebleed to a severe concussion.

Sports injuries to the head can be life threatening.


Although injuries to the head and face are more prevalent in collision and contact sports, the potential for head injuries exists in all sports.9 Wearing a helmet or protective headgear and in some instances a face mask in sports like football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, and baseball has dramatically reduced the incidence of injuries to the head, face, eyes, ears, and nose. Some have argued that if the face mask were eliminated in a sport like football, the number of cervical spine and head injuries would likely be reduced because the athlete would be less likely to use the head when making contact. However, it is certain that the incidence of injuries to the face, eyes, ears, and nose would significantly increase. A helmet can only do so much in preventing injury to the brain.

Unquestionably, the single most important consideration in reducing injuries to this region is teaching athletes to use correct techniques when initiating contact. All football helmets have written warnings that discourage the use of the head as a weapon. It is imperative to make certain that athletes are taught and are using correct and safe techniques.



The skull is composed of twenty-two bones. With the single exception of the mandible, all of the bones are joined together in immovable joints called sutures. The cranial vault, which houses the brain, is enclosed by the cranium or skull and is made up of the frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, two parietal, two temporal, and the occipital bones (Figure 22–1).41


Bones of the skull and face (lateral view). (From Saladin, K.S., Anatomy and physiology, 5th ed. Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010.)

The Brain

The brain is the part of the central nervous system that is contained within ...

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