The question Describe the assessment procedure used to determine the nature and extent of a sports injury. is worth 5 marks and comes from the 2011 HSC PDHPE exam. Below is a sample answer written by one of my VT students (shared with permission). The answer begins with a clear statement that the procedure would be stopped if the athlete cannot continue and identifies her example, which is then continued throughout the rest of the answer.
TOTAPS is an assessment procedure used to determine the nature and extent of the injury and whether the athlete can continue to play. If an athlete can complete the step, they must continue to the next step. If an athlete cannot complete the step, they must not continue to play and be referred to a medical professional.
In this situation, we have a rugby player that is laying on the field and holding their forearm close to their chest.
The first step of TOTAPS is to talk to the athlete to gain as much information about the injury as possible. Questions relating to this incident should include: “Is it your arm that’s hurting?”, “How did this happen?”, “How much pain are you in?” If the athlete indicates that they are in immense pain or doesn’t respond, the process is stopped immediately and First Aid needs to be applied and medical attention sought.
This second step involves observing the athlete and comparing both limbs/sides of the body to determine any obvious abnormalities or signs of injury. If there is an obvious abnormality or the area is already inflamed or swollen, then the process is stopped, and First Aid is applied and medical attention sought.
This step requires the assessor to touch the athlete and again compare both sides/limbs of the body. The main goal of this step is to feel for any abnormalities, heat and swelling and to determine where pain begins/ends. Feel both their arms starting from their wrists and working their way up the arm towards the shoulders. If an abnormality or excessive pain is present during the touch, then the assessment is stopped, and First Aid is applied and medical attention sought.
Ask the casualty to move their injured area to see if the athlete has the full range of motion around the injured site that is pain-free. Ask if they can wriggle their finger, and work your way up the arm, including elbow flexion and extension and movements of the shoulder. If they can move without pain continue to passive movement, if the pain is present or there is a limited range of motion then the assessment is stopped and First Aid is applied and medical attention sought.
This step involves moving the injured site for the athlete and identifying any pain/instability. Movements can include pushing and pulling around the joint to apply forces and test ligaments. If they indicate that they have pain during passive movement and a lack of mobility then they cannot continue to play and First Aid is applied and medical attention sought. If they do not indicate that they have pain then continue to the next step.
The last step of this assessment procedure is a skills test. This test is used to assess the injury to determine if the injured area can undergo the movements in the sport being played. Skills tests are specific to the sport and start off with low intensity/basic movements and actions for that sport. For the rugby situation, light movements such as passing and catching a football would be used before progressing onto tackling. If the athlete cannot complete the skills test pain pain-free then medical advice from a professional needs to be sought. If they experience no pain they can continue to play.
This is a great answer for Describe the assessment procedure used to determine the nature and extent of a sports injury. Frequent references back to the example is key for TOTAPS, and I always advice students to pick 1 example, but make reference to it for each step. As a 5 mark question, this answer may be slightly long, but it does cover what is expected in a “describe” question such as this one. If this question was worth more marks, I may also expect to see mention of DRABCD and where TOTAPS fits into this.