By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.
In search of a New Year’s resolution? This is a good time to make sure you've got the first-aid kit in order.
Every youth coach should have a very basic sideline first-aid kit. You should have this at each training session or game. Remember that this is not meant to be used for comprehensive treatment, but only for immediate sideline first aid. The supplies below should get you through almost any minor to moderate situation and are easily obtained from your local drug store.
One of the most essential items is your cellular phone. If you have any doubts about the severity of the medical situation, use your phone to call the local emergency medical personnel for help. If you are with a travel team or often play outside of your local region, it is advisable to enter the emergency phone number of the away location into your cell phone in advance. Local emergency numbers are best since calling 911 may result in a delay.
The absolute bare minimum supplies:
• Instant cold packs (have several of these!).
• Adhesive bandages of assorted shapes and sizes.
• Blister care.
• ACE bandages (3-inch and 4-inch sizes).
• Disposable non-latex gloves (use when you are looking at a cut or abrasion).
• Alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer (for your own hands).
• Antibiotic ointment (individual packets or a tube of Bacitracin works well).
• Sterile gauze bandages.
• Sterile gauze roll.
• Sterile saline bottle (to gently wash dirt or grass from a cut).
• Saline rinse bottle and Hibiclens bottle (very effective and not painful to clean an abrasion or cut).
• Athletic tape (1-inch and 2-inch sizes).
• Paramedic scissors.
• Hydrogen peroxide -- to get blood off a uniform.
• Plastic bags to dispose of used gauze, etc.
Here are a few extras that are nice to have:
• Foam underwrap.
• Finger splints (popsicle sticks work well).
• CPR instructions and plastic ventilation mask.
• Watertight bags to keep items dry.
Packing it up:
• Keep your supplies in a brightly colored bag (red is a popular color for this) so that you can find it quickly.
(Dr. Dev K. Mishra is the creator of the SidelineSportsDoc.com injury management program for coaches. He is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Burlingame, Calif. He is a member of the team physician pool with the U.S. Soccer Federation and has served as team physician at the University of California, Berkeley. Mishra writes about injury management at SidelineSportsDoc.com Blog.)