By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.
With the spring season kicking off, this is the perfect 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 and 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 a Clinical Assistant Professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University. He is a member of the team physician pool with the U.S. Soccer Federation and is a team physician with the San Jose Earthquakes. Mishra writes about injury management at SidelineSportsDoc.com Blog.)
My kids school season ends tomorrow & our state asso. won't let kids play rec & school the same season. Brilliant, eh?
Dr. Mishra's excellent list nevertheless omits four of my must-carry items:
1. Natural ice. It lasts longer and costs less than chemical ice packs, and goes along to games in the drink chest.
2. Zip-lock bags in which to place the ice along with some water to spread its effect over the surface of the bag.
3. For older---U-16 and U-19 players---6" ace bandages. In the event he application of ice is indicated, put the ice and water in the bag and use an ace bandage to apply the iced bag to ankle, knee or other area where it is desired to minimize swelling.
4. Ice cups---that's water in a paper cup that had been in the freezer overnight. Give the cup to a player to apply to an "owie." The player uses the cup as a handle, peels back the open end to expose the ice and uses the ice to massage the bruised area gently. Between the effect of the ice and the attention on doing something other than focusing on the owie, the player usually moves on promptly from tears to play.
I disagree with Dr.Mishra's comment "local emergency numbers are best since calling 9-1-1 may result in a delay". Most communications centers in America are 9-1-1 based, and many have computer aided dispatch. This allows for the nearest emergency responders to the incident be dispatched, making a timely arrival to the scene, saving precious seconds in the event of a life or death situation. I encourage anyone involved to take at least a AHA CPR class, which usually offer basic first aid as well.