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NCAA Eligibility Center



Universal Immediate Care of Athletic Injuries

The following procedure (R.I.C.E.) will be used in response to injuries incurred during an athletic practice or game.

Rest: Do not use the injured body part until pain free activity can be resumed.

Ice: Apply ice directly to the injured area 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, for the first three hours. After 72 hours, 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off, one time. Do not use chemical packs directly on facial injuries. Do not apply heat if swelling, inflammation or pain persists.

Compression: Wrap from below the injured area and toward the body and use a pad under the wrap to add compression forces to retard swelling and activate absorption. When sleeping, loosen the wrap, but do not remove it.

Elevation: Elevate to a level above the heart to reduce bleeding and swelling. Every injury that requires the use of this procedure should be evaluated by the athletic trainer, the athlete’s family physician or by an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible. Athletes referred to a doctor by the athletic trainer or coach must present a doctor’s note giving permission to return to play or practice.