SALTAPS is an acronym for assessing minor injuries. It’s often used in sports first aid and first aid courses to check what the individual with casualty needs and if they can resume play.

But as accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, you can benefit significantly from knowing SALTAPS even if you’re not in the medical or sports field!

a runner and their muscles showing where a sports injury could occur

 

What Is SALTAPS?

SALTAPS stands for see, ask, look, touch, active, passive, and strength. Let’s understand what each of them means in this section.

See and Stop

Stop the play immediately when you see the injury occur and check the mechanism that possibly caused the injury.

See what the casualty is doing now and observe the extent of the situation.

Ask

If the person is conscious, ask them for consent if you can approach and assess them.

Ask them about the accident, where they feel pain, and if anyone else witnessed the incident.

Asking questions is also an opportunity to test their response. Are they sensible? Do they know where they are? Do they remember the event?

Here are Some First-Aid Questions You Can Ask:

  • What happened? Do you remember how it happened?
  • Did other people see the incident?
  • Do you know where you are right now?

For Sports, Use the Maddock’s Questions to Check for Concussion:

  • Which period of the game are we in?
  • Who are our opponents today?
  • What is the score?
  • Where did the team play last week?

Look

After asking, look closely at the injured area. Search for signs such as swelling, muscle spasm, discoloration, deformity, or bruising.

Look at the appearance of the injury site and see the severity of the situation.

Touch

If the casualty permits, gently touch the injury site to determine the pain further.

Feel for heat, tenderness, and numbness. Carefully palpate different parts to know which point(s) hurt the most.

Active Movement

Ask the individual to move the injured part on their own. Check if they can do the actions easily, in full range, or if they’re struggling.

The first aider must not force them if they’re visibly struggling to avoid worsening the injury.

Passive Movement

If active movement is okay, tell them to relax.

Be the one to move the part with injury and see if they react. If they experience pain in this phase, it could point to a joint or tendon injury.

Strength

If they seem to pass the questions above, it’s time to check if they have the strength to move in a normal range.

For instance, ask someone with an ankle concern to stand unaided. Use resisted movements and assess loss of function at this stage.

Ask them to put pressure on the area and slowly progress by telling them to walk, jump, and run. Assist them as much as possible.

Then What?

If they pass all of the techniques without problem, they can return to play after a few minutes of rest.

If there are minor wounds and problems, perform first-aid treatments and let a professional observe further, if possible.

If the signs are severe, immediately seek medical advice from a professional or bring them to the nearest hospital or rehabilitation center.

There must be complete recovery before engaging in intense activities again.

Why Is SALTAPS Important?

SALTAPS is a crucial first-aid tool for immediate medical attention. It’s helpful in accurately identifying the problem so the casualty can get treated as soon as possible.

It serves as a helpful guide and test to make the best decision possible, so children and adults alike won’t be harmed further.

Common Uses for SALTAPS

This first-aid tool is often used in the following scenarios:

1. First-Aid for Sports

This first-aid tool is most commonly used in sports, where accidents occur frequently, and first-aid is often needed.

It enables the coaches and practitioners to accurately decide if they can continue playing or should rest for their safety.

2. Other Active Environments (School, Physical Education, etc.)

Even if you’re not a practitioner, knowing this first-aid tool enables you to help anyone at any time.

A teacher can use this first-aid tool in school to help children who fall or scratch themselves.

This first-aid technique makes immediate student care faster without waiting for a nurse or bringing the child to the clinic.

3. First-Aid Courses

You’ll encounter this acronym in many first-aid-related matters from learning courses to actual use.

First-aid medical practitioners can use it to communicate the situation properly to other professionals in determining the factors to arrive at the right solutions.

Final Thoughts

Knowing SALTAPS increases the quality of assistance we can offer to people who need it. You don’t have to be a doctor to help; basic knowledge can often be sufficient!

BUT REMEMBER: Avoid performing any medical care beyond first-aid help without proper skills and experience.

Ensure that they are okay first, and then seek professional help.