While playing a game of baseball with coworkers after work recently, one of my coworkers twisted his ankle. Obviously he was in pain, and we paused the game and asked if he was all right, but then I wasn't sure what to do.

In the time it took for the acute pain to pass and for him to walk over to the side, I just stood there, feeling uncomfortable.

Is there any way to better react when someone is hurt?

I mention him being a coworker, but I think that even if we were close friends I would still be unsure about how to respond to the injury.


I was a corpsman with the Navy, what you are trying to describe has a formal term for it: bedside manner

  1. Focus on them
  2. Really listen to them
  3. Observe them
  4. Avoid judgement
  5. Relax your shoulders
  6. Avoid leading questions
  7. Speak carefully

You can't force reassurance. But by being the focus of your attention, this person will eventually feel your care, provided you don't upset them further.

And as OldPadawan mentioned, avoid "Are you ok?" because, that's a leading question. "How are you feeling?" is not.


My instinct would've been to kneel down, lay a hand on his shoulders. You don't need to say anything, he's in no mood to listen anyway, just be there supportingly.

I don't think he would expect you to have done anything more either.

Your uncomfortableness is due to you feeling self conscious for standing awkwardly while he's hurting, not because you did anything poorly to him.


Is there any way to better react when someone is hurt?

Unless you have professional knowledge in health care, I don't think you can be more than just a temporary support to them. You can show that you're concerned, and willing to help. Hopefully, doing some of the following will help you and the other person:

  1. stay close enough to help if the person want to stand up or need something.
  2. ask them if they want you to call for some help(*) if pain is too big.
  3. ask them if they want to try and stand up (with or without your help) or prefer to just sit on the ground for a moment.
  4. if they stand up, ask them if they can put some body weight on the injured ankle, and if it allows to go to the nearest chair/bench.

I would just avoid the awkward thing you listen to too many times when this happens: "Are you ok?". Obviously, NO, they are not, as they just hurt themselves and feel pain...

Doing sports for a long time, with friends or coworkers, I've been in this situation (both sides), and we almost ended up doing something like the above. Nothing more, nothing less...

* Many countries (all? I guess) have dedicated numbers in case of medical emergency. But it can also be calling a friend/SO to come and pick them up, or take care of their car.


I was ski patrol.

A Dr or medical professional is not always going to volunteer. They may assume you are a Dr. Ask if a Dr or medic is in the crowd.

Don't crowd the person standing as it is not comfortable for them. Sit or kneel next to the person so you are on the same level.

It is OK to ask them if they are OK. State your level of medical training even if it is zero. Ask them if they want you to get medical help. Ask them if they need anything. Assess / treat up to your medical training.

Eventually you need to move them to a safe spot. Decide if you need medical help for that.

Stay with them until you have turned them over to someone with proper medical training or it is clear they are OK and can take care of them-self.

Often they want to remove the shoe and medically it is typically best to leave it on initially. It stabilizes and controls swelling.

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