pics Male patient before and after rhinoplasty
Above: 25-year-old male who sustained multiple sports-related injuries pictured before and after corrective surgery


All contact sports come with the risk of injury, especially nose injuries. We have a very recent example in Client Dempsey, a decorated member of the United States men’s soccer team currently playing at the World Cup in Brazil.


After breaking his nose in the team’s first game against Ghana, Dempsey was advised to wear a protective mask in the next game against Portugal. He opted not to, and in doing so put himself at serious risk of further injuring his nose. More importantly, he stayed on the field right after his injury, despite feeling dizzy and lightheaded.


At a minimum, I believe Dempsey should have used a medicated spray to reduce the risk of bleeding, as well as a protective mask. But the reality is, he shouldn’t have been playing at all.


Important Nose Injury Risks

We weren’t on the field to assess Dempsey, but from a medical standpoint, continuing to play soccer after breaking one’s nose is a questionable decision at best. Dempsey said he had trouble breathing and felt dizzy at times during the rest of the match. These are just two examples of symptoms that can arise from such an injury.


The risks of not seeking medical attention right away after a nose injury — let alone continuing to exert energy — cannot be overstated. Reinjuring the nose can lead to major breathing problems, uncontrollable breathing or worse.


You may think it’s just your nose, but any injury involving your head or neck can be a matter of life or death. Traumatic brain injury, symptoms of which often arise once it’s too late, is a real risk. Another serious risk is spinal cord injury, which can kill you or leave you paralyzed. Some people go into shock after a traumatic injury such as breaking the nose. This too is potentially fatal if not treated right away.


What to Do if You Sustain a Nose Injury

In other words, if you sustain a head or neck injury of any type, don’t follow Dempsey’s example. Instead, stop playing, come out of the game and seek medical attention immediately. Though I don’t recommend playing contact sports at all until your nose has healed, if you must, you should wear some form of protection. In Dempsey’s case, he could have had a mask made for him by a company such as Ortholab Sport. (Note that these customized masks can be expensive.)


Once you leave the field, go to an urgent care or emergency room as quickly as possible to make sure you’re not in any immediate danger. You should see an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) the next day if possible. If you need surgery, your ENT will refer you to a nose surgeon — preferably a board certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty. Your nose surgeon will do a careful examination of your nose and determine if surgery is necessary.


To learn more about what to do following a nose injury, contact my office today.