Most sporting activities are generally safe to participate in. However, sports remains an inherently physical activity and the risk of having an injury is inevitable.
Every year, millions of people in Australia participate in sports and physical recreation activities however playing a sport does not come without risk. Sporting games, events, and outdoor activities all carry the risk of cuts, abrasions, sprains, fractures, or pulls of varying types.
In a 2016-2017 report, almost 60,000 hospital visits in Australia are due to sports injuries. Most of these are males aged 15-24, with fewer sports injuries recorded in females in the same age group.
But these injuries do not mean you should avoid doing sports because then you’d be missing all the fun. It just means you need to take extra precautions and be prepared to treat any mishaps or accidents along the way.
Whatever sport you are playing, it pays to have a first aid kit readily available. Most sports associations and governing bodies including Sport Australia insist that first aid equipment is present at any sports activities.
Creating the ideal sports first aid kit is not difficult to do. All you need to have are the essential items in your kit. Here are some tips that will help you in putting up a sports first aid kit that your team needs.
Assemble your first aid kit according to sport
Match the content of your kit to the sport. For example, in a basketball or baseball team kit, there should be cold compress, elastic bandages, and band-aids. This is because players of these sports are prone to having bruises, abrasions, and sprained ankles.
For players in activities like track and field, swimming, or boxing – there should be plenty of supplies in treating blisters, abrasions, pulled muscles, and sprains.
Outdoor events will need treatment for sunburns and skin allergies such as EpiPens (for anaphylaxis) and bee sting kits. If you live in Australia where most field sports require your team to be under the sun, you will be needing sunscreen and cooling gels. Disinfectants are also a smart idea for rounding out sports first aid kits.
Stock a realistic quantity of supplies
If you are attending team sports, the risk of injuries across multiple team members is more likely. Be prepared to treat more than one person at an event. Remember to sock pediatric dose (in liquid form, if necessary) if you are attending children’s sports.
It is better to have what you will need in a realistic amount than to not have nearly enough. Having extra bandages in your kit can make a big difference in successful treatment. The last thing we want is to have our supplies depleted quickly and not being able to provide first aid treatment.
Protect against damage
Sports first aid kits are likely to follow the team in a number of sporting events over a long period. The containers will likely be tossed around from one place to another. Choosing a strong, protected case is the best way to future proof your first aid supplies. A watertight container made of plastic or metal is recommended. It can withstand years of rough handling and extremes in temperature.
Keep first aid kits in sight and easy to access.
A great sport first aid kit will not be of any help if it’s left where it can’t be found. First Aid kits should be placed in an area where they are readily accessible. Use clear markings to allow rapid identification.
You can use a Ziploc-type bag for sorting your extra supplies inside the kit. Do partitions and labels such as ‘for wound care’ ‘or ‘for an allergic reaction’ and so forth. These are helpful when treating injuries.
Sports First Aid Kit Content
Now that you have your guide on how to make an ideal kit, here’s the list of contents a sports first aid kit should have. Go through the list carefully, and decide which items are necessary or not. Taking a first aid course is helpful as it will help you identify the use of each supply. Also, you will learn how to properly use them in case of an emergency
First aid supplies will be divided into 8 categories.
- First aid manual
- Ice Packs/Compression bags
- Gloves (Sterile surgical gloves)
- Rescue blanket
- Safety Pins
- List of emergency phone numbers (paramedics, nearest local hospital, relatives)
Wound Care Supplies
- Elastic bandage
- Adhesive tapes/strips
- Gauze pads
- Non-stick bandages
- Cotton-tipped swabs or applicators
- Liquid soap
- Disposable surgical scrub brush
- Benzoin Tincture
Splinting and Sling Material Supplies
- Cravat cloth (triangular bandage)
- Elastic wrap
- Aluminum finger splints
Eye Medication and Dressing Supplies
- Prepacked individual sterile oval eye pads
- Prepacked eye bandages
- Plastic or metal eye shields
- Sterile eyewash
Topical Preparation Supplies
- Insect repellent containing DEET
- Sunscreen lotion or cream (SPF 30 or up)
- Lip balm
- Bacitracin, mupirocin, or bacitracin-neomycin polymyxin B sulphate ointment
- Ibuprofen (painkiller)
- Acetaminophen to relieve mild to moderate pain
- Antacid to teat symptoms of stomach acid
- Decongestant or nasal spray for temporary relief of congestion in the nose
- Metered-dose bronchodilator or albuterol to treat an asthma attack
- Space meter
- Peak-flow meter
Allergy Kit Supplies
- EpiPen Auto-Injector (epinephrine)
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Other first aid equipment and supplies may be available at sporting venue. They are not usually transported unless there are special circumstances. These include stretchers and AEDs (automated external defibrillators).
With the tips and list of contents, it is now easy to create a sports first aid kit that will benefit you and the athletes in an unexpected injury. Remember, first aid is meant to treat minor injuries and first aid of any kind is better than no intervention at all.
In cases where the injuries are serious, always take the injured person to the nearest emergency room.
No team or competition (whatever sport it is) should be without a first aid kit designed to treat the most common injuries and illnesses that might be encountered.