Pitch Side Medical Bag

Never before have football clubs been as acutely aware of their legal responsibilities in conducting their activities as they are today. Recent deaths and serious incidents on the sports field have sharply focused the attention of all who have been entrusted with the medical welfare of the players. Every Club at professional and amateur level, with adult or youth, male or female, able-bodied or disabled players has a duty of care for all the participants.

To help clubs get the medical resources they need, the Sussex County FA have teamed up with Koolpak; the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of First Aid and Sport Injury products. For further details and to see how your club can take advantage of this partnership please visit the Koolpak page.

The level of medical support and the resources to compliment that support is governed by a club’s financial position. However, it is the responsibility of each club to ensure that at least one qualified, competent first-aider is pitch side whenever players are engaged in training or match activities. Ideally, all pitch side (bench) personnel should be trained to deal with any emergency (life-threatening) situation that may arise. It is recommended that as a minimum the first-aider should have attended and successfully completed an FA Emergency Aid Course or a course run by The Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance, or one approved by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The ‘Routine’ Pitch-side Medical Bag
Medical bags come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Whatever the type of medical bag carried, it is incumbent on the appointed ‘first-aider’ to be clinically competent in the use of its contents; the contents will to a large degree reflect the level of medical skill of its ‘owner’. Clearly, the ‘first-aider’ should not carry any items of medical equipment or supplies that he/she is untrained to use or dispense. With experience one finds that the number of items carried in the bag inevitably increases, as does the size of the bag. Personal and player preferences may also influence which items are carried.

Within the bag, transparent plastic containers are a useful way of retaining items in a clean and easily identifiable location.

Contents of a 'routine' medical bag:
Crepe bandages
Elastic adhesive bandage (EAB) (various sizes)
Elastic / Self-adhesive / Tearable bandages (various sizes)
Zinc oxide tape (inelastic) (various sizes)
Disposable nitrile gloves
Gauze swabs
Plasters (non-allergenic / waterproof)
Sterile non-adherent wound dressings (various sizes)
Triangular bandages
Eye pads
Spray bottle (for iced water)
Scissors (safety type)
Sterile hand gel
2 x Silver Blankets (one to put on the ground under the casualty and one to cover them to keep warm)
CPR Mask / Face Shield
Bio-hazard marked yellow polythene bag for disposal of soiled gauze etc

Due to the inherent dangers of blood-borne diseases it is now down to the ‘first-aider’ to protect him/herself from any blood with which he/she may come in contact. Several pairs of disposable nitrile (non-allergenic) gloves are a ‘must carry’ item for any responsible ‘first aider’.

Scissors are essential for cutting and removing tapes and bandage; they may also be required to cut through the clothing of an injured player to expose the injured body part when conducting the initial assessment. The scissors should be of the ‘safety’ type with brightly coloured handles for ease of identification should they be dropped and remain on the playing surface.

In conclusion, it is imperative that the trained first-aider is equipped both practically and logistically to manage whatever medical situation may present itself. Pragmatically, there are no hard and fast rules about the contents of the medical bags, but the items listed above should be considered as desirable basic contents which will allow the first-aider to deal with the more common medical presentations.

Of course First Aid bags come equipped with a variety of contents and, depending on your own experience and knowledge you may wish to hold more that is shown in the list above.

Important Safety Notice: This article is for general information only and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or treatment. Whilst anyone in the vicinity is considered to be a potential first-aider, medical care should be delivered by a qualified healthcare professional. For further information on courses applicable to football you should access The FA Learning website.

For further details on Pitch Side Medical Bags please contact Development:

T: 01903 766855
E: Development@SussexFA.com

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