With the increasing popularity of MilSim and the push to secure down more unique and extreme battle locations, the risk of a dangerous fall is becoming all too real. Recently, many "epic fall" videos have been uploaded to Youtube and it raises the question, "Do you know what to do if your friend takes a dangerous fall?"
Many falls are dangerous to both life and limb. In this article, I'm not going to address the falls that can cause a broken wrist or ankle, but address the falls that can cause spinal injuries. Injuries that can be detrimental to your life or ability to be mobile. Falls that can put you a wheelchair, end your days of airsoft, or even worse-- end your life.
Your spinal column is a series of semi-circular bones, which protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is like the super highway of nerves that connect your brain to your extremities. Damage to the spinal cord is a serious injury and with current medical technology, often permanent. Depending on the location of the spinal cord injury, they can even be fatal.
The most serious of spinal injuries occur in the cervical spine. The cervical spine is the first seven bones that extend down from the base of the skull and through the neck. If you sever your spinal cord within the first two cervical spine bones, the injury will likely kill you. The reason being; the nerves that run through this particular area of the spine control your ability to breathe. Severing the spine in this area will cause you to stop breathing and soon-after die. As you move down the spine, the chances of surviving a spinal cord injury increase, but at the cost of your ability to use your arms and legs.
The first thing to consider when it comes to falls is the mechanism of injury. In these cases, the seriousness of the fall. A fall, even at one foot in height, can cause a spinal injury. However, this is less likely in a younger person. Any fall of six feet or greater should be considered a serious fall and be treated as such.
If you witness a fall of serious nature, immediately call for a stop in the game, notify the organizers, and get to the injured as soon as possible. Be aware of your surroundings. You are no good to the injured if you become injured yourself. If you can reach the injured player safety, do so. One of the first things you need to address if the person is conscious is if they are ok with you touching them. After getting consent to assist, you need to immediately apply a technique called C-spine. In short, you need to stabilize the injured person's head and neck to prevent movement.
C-spine is a technique used by medically trained professionals to stabilize a person's head and prevent unnecessary movements, which can cause further spinal injury. Please watch the instructional video attached on how to apply C-spine and roll a patient if necessary. Once C-spine is applied, talk to the injured player and inform them not to move their head in any way. When C-spine is applied, it is not to be removed until an EMT, Paramedic, or someone of higher training takes over.
Properly rolling a person and applying C-spine is an essential technique to the safety of all players on the field. Learn it and utilize it in the case of a serious fall. As always, ensure you call for professional help. Improperly applying techniques can make you susceptible to legal liability. I suggest that only trained professionals use techniques, which they are skilled to do. My series of instructional videos are simply to give you knowledge in the event that trained professionals are unavailable and someone's life is in grave danger. Only assist those who are in definite need of help and with their consent (if possible).
Lets take care of each other out there and make sure that everyone is safe!
--Brandon Roberts is a counter-terrorism task force officer based out of Meridian, Mississippi. He has been in law enforcement since 2001 and has served as a private military contractor for the U.S. government overseas. Brandon is the author of the Amazon Best Seller List book 'Evading Honesty' and runs milsim with the Florida Tactical Action Club