Thursday, March 10, 2011

Emergency Preparedness is Now the Norm

Certified athletic trainers have always been at the forefront of being prepared. But like any science or movement, this too has been evolving. Consider the recent action by the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers’ Society (PHATS)(NATA NEWS 2/11) to actually place an identically prepared and stocked medical/emergency bag in each of their 30 arenas so that the visiting team may always be assured that vital supplies and equipment will always be there for them. Congrats to PHATS and to Sports Health for crystallizing this forward thinking idea!

On the high school wrestling front, look at this idea which I call the Mat-O-Matic. We all know that when a wrestler comes to the edge of the mat that having all necessary supplies on hand to save time is critical. Nose bleeds, cut lips, the opponent’s blood and blood on the uniform are all routine occurrences that need to be dealt with quickly.

The Mat-O-Matic is a garbage can with a plastic bag liner mounted onto wheels. It can roll to the edge or onto the mat for both home and visiting benches. The outer rim of the garbage supports a plywood circle with multiple holes drills around its circumference. Here are the items that are able to be positioned in these circles:
In addition, hanging along the sides are:
Just like the PHATS’s philosophy of visiting teams being well taken care of, the Mat-O-Matic has become the norm at my school by visiting coaches.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Caring for Typical Baseball/Softball Injuries and Conditions

The following information is provided to assist athletes and parents in the event of a typical injury or condition associated with sport participation. This information should never be used as a substitute for competent medical attention from a physician or certified athletic trainer.

First aid for most sports injuries consists of following the RICE principle of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest is important because irritating tissues while they are trying to heal result in swelling. Ice causes blood vessels to constrict, which reduces the influx of fluids to the area and controls swelling. Compression provides a mechanical restriction to expansion so as to control swelling. Elevation fights the flow of fluids due to gravity to the injured area to control swelling.

Sports Health has many products to assist you follow the RICE principles such as:

Sports Health Elastic Bandages
- Elastic wraps should be applied below the injury
and wrapped up toward the heart

Extra Strength Pain Reliever Tablets, (50/2's) - Reducing pain helps the body reduce the amount of inflammation

School Health Instant Cold Packs - The application of cold is vital to reduce swelling
and promote healing.

Scrapes and abrasions are common in baseball and softball due to sliding feet first (hips/shins) and diving head first (hands/elbows). All abrasions should be cleaned thoroughly, covered with antiseptic cream and covered to promote healing.

Studies have shown that wounds thoroughly cleaned, moistened with antibiotic cream and covered actually heal better and faster than wounds left to "air out". Consider using products such as the following to clean and protect baseball/softball athletes' scrapes:

Cramer Cinder Suds

Antiseptic Spray - 3 oz. Aerosol

Triple Antibiotic Ointment

HARTMANN Flex-Band Adhesive Bandages

Sprains occur when ligaments are stretched and/or torn and is common to all sports. Ligaments stabilize movement around the joint and have a limited range of motion normally. When injured, joints swell much the same way an air bag goes off in a car when involved in an accident. Rapid swelling should be stabilized and x-rays may be warranted.. The RICE principle must be followed immediately. A "turned" ankle is still a sprained ankle. When in doubt, seek medical attention.

Sprained ankle joints need treatment and strengthening. Joint stabilization is often a good idea during and after reconditioning. Athletic stabilization may accompanied by using braces such as the following.

Active Ankle AS1 Ankle Brace Cramer

Hg80 Ankle Brace With Straps

Strains or "pulls" occur when muscles are rapidly overextended. Lack of flexibility training sets muscles up to become chronically tighter. Depending upon your sport or lifestyle demands you need varying amounts of adherence to daily stretching as well as which muscles you should target. Baseball/softball players need to emphasize calves, hamstring, lower back, chest, hip, upper arm, forearm and wrists. It takes longer to become flexible than it does to lose flexibility, so maintaining it is smarter than recapturing it.

When injured, RICE is best. Rest, ice and gentle stretching can begin shortly after the incident. Do not push too hard early or you will repeat the injury mechanism!

After a few days, heat to warm muscle prior to stretching will increase elasticity. Ice after use will reduce inflammation. Supportive garments and sleeves will "recruit" uninjured muscle fibers to assist the injured fibers perform movements.

Jobst Medical Legwear Compression Garments

Sports Health Neoprene Thigh Sleeves

Sports Health Neoprene Elbow Sleeves

HARTMANN-CONCO Shur-Band Latex Free Elastic Bandages

Application of the RICE principle, proper and adequate flexibility exercises, and sterile cleaning and covering of scrapes should all be a part of baseball/softball players’ and parents’ "first aid kit". For a complete line of related products go to .