Cuts on the Court

Late in the Jazz-Grizzlies game on November 12, 2018, Utah's Joe Ingles took an elbow to his forehead. With blood dripping down his face, Ingles stopped by the bench to get a bandage—and then promptly went back on the court and drilled a game-sealing three.

That's when the legend of Headband Joe was born.

What happened to Ingles, though, is common. Every day, doctors in emergency rooms see patients who have suffered varying degrees of cuts. While many of these patients require immediate medical attention, there are some who could have saved time and money by properly treating the wound themselves.

So how do parents know when to take their child to urgent care or the local emergency room? You should seek immediate medical attention if the cut is:

  • Deep enough to expose muscle, bone or fatty tissue
  • Wide enough so that you cannot easily press the edges together
  • Located across a joint (because of potential nerve, tendon or ligament damage)
  • Caused by a dirty or rusty object
  • On the face or anywhere that scarring is a concern
  • Still bleeding after 15 minutes of direct pressure

What about infection?

Whether a wound requires a visit to the ER or not, the risk of infection increases the longer that wound is open. Gently clean the wound under tap water for a few minutes, and then apply direct pressure and keep the wound elevated. This should stop or slow the bleeding.

What is the best advice for individuals cut on the court?

If you're unsure about the severity of your injury, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention.

University of Utah Health is the official medical provider for the Utah Jazz.

More information is available at


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