What Should Be Included in a Professional Sports First Aid Kit?
This has become a ritual for you– another Wednesday night ending in somebody limping off of the adult-league soccer field.
Last week, your center mid-fielder was cleated straight into their knee cap. There was a bit of blood.
Tonight, your left-back’s wrist was bent in an unnatural position. Splinting was an obvious next step.
Even if you aren’t as accident-prone as your teammates, it’s clear that your recreational club team needs the right tools to perform (and recover) safely. What’s in your preferred sport’s first aid kit? Read on for our recommendations.
Most Common Sports Injuries
If you manage, play, or work as an athletic trainer with an athletic organization or team, it’s wise to consider the type of activity that will be played. Additionally, indoor and outdoor sports should be treated differently, as they will each have their own set of common injuries.
Unlike those playing in an indoor stadium or gymnasium, outdoor athletes have the elements to deal with. Sunshine, poor weather, insects, and abrasive environmental injuries are all possible outcomes of outdoor participation.
Keeping sunscreen, bug repellent, towels, plenty of wound dressing, and disinfectant will keep outdoor athletes in top form. Proper hydration will also be the key to peak performance and fatigue prevention.
Team Sport Injuries
Team sports injuries can often be more high-impact than individual sports. Events like hockey, football, soccer, and baseball have a high chance of impact and may require wound dressing and pain management supplies. Controlling pain and inflammation will be key in these high-impact environments.
Individual Sport Injuries
Individual or smaller team sports like tennis can often result in blisters. This is because of the friction and repetitive nature of the movement. Tennis players should beware of potential blisters and skin abrasions and treat them accordingly.
Additionally, the start-and-stop movements in these activities may leave leg muscles and joints to impact injury. Be prepared to ice or splint.
Running injuries often result in sprains, painful foot blisters, and other leg injuries in the event of a fall or collision. Blister care, cold packs, bandages, and plenty of water are a must for sports like cross country and track events.
Your Sports First Aid Kit Inventory
Looking for a checklist? It’s ok to keep it simple. While your final inventory will vary on the type of sport played, all first aid kits should contain the following basics:
- Safety pins
- Sharp scissors (for cutting bandage and clothing, if necessary)
- Splinter forceps (tweezers)
- Oral thermometer
- Cold packs or ice
- Athletic tape
- Adhesive dressings
- Sterile saline or fresh, clean water
- Antiseptic Wipes for cleaning hands and body
- Disposable medical gloves
- Gauze pads
- Rubber tourniquet
- Large triangular bandage to be used as a sling
- Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
- Eye pads and patches
- Splinting materials (such as an aluminum finger splint and splint large enough for leg or arm stabilization)
- Hand and surface sanitizer
- Antibiotic ointment
The old adage rings true–you can never be overprepared. You will, however, need to be able to transport your kit without too much of a struggle. A kit with just the basics should still remain transportable and easy to access during any emergency.
Elite first aid kits may contain supplemental items that can make these tricky situations even easier to manage. If you have the room and the resources, it’s worth including these add-ons:
- Emergency blanket for weather and shock purposes
- Cell phone to contact emergency assistance
- Medical release forms and emergency contacts for all players on the team
- Contact information for emergency phone numbers and resources
- Flashlight or headlamp for night games and inclement weather
- CPR mouth barrier or pocket mask
- A foam roller
- Clinical waste bags
- An allergy kit or antihistamine
It may also be useful to have a first aid manual or flashcards on hand. We understand that not all athletes or managers have medical or athletic training experience. There’s no harm in referencing the right materials!
In a Pinch
What happens if you forget your first aid supplies? Keeping a few multi-purpose items in your sports duffel may keep you afloat until the real first aid kit arrives:
- A soft t-shirt to wrap cuts or use as a sling
- Duct tape for bandaging support
- Clean water for cleaning wounds and drinking
These are great items to have on hand to stop bleeding, stabilize a sprain, and keep an athlete comfortable. However, attempting to treat burns, broken bones, or excessive bleeding without the proper supplies can get risky. Makeshift solutions are temporary solutions.
Stock up on First Aid Supplies
Remember, athletes are only human. And humans, at times, are prone to breaking.
The great news is that reports of athletic injury have steadily decreased as the quality of care and preparedness have improved. With the right supplies, you can provide the same level of care to the athletes in your circle.
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your supplies at home. You never know when an injury requires cleaning or stabilization before an athlete can seek medical attention. Failure to properly address a wound immediately may directly impact one’s recovery.
If you’re not quite sure where to start (or don’t want to worry about taking inventory), a sports first aid kit refill is a convenient solution. Browse refill options and replace the essentials before your next match.