Rugby First Aid Kits: Complete Guidance for Rugby Union and Rugby League
As a collision sport, injuries come with the territory of Rugby. It’s good to be prepared for minor scrapes, blisters, and bruises to make players more comfortable on the field. But it’s also important to watch out for more severe injuries like concussions, broken bones, and dislocated joints. A rugby first aid kit gives your player the support they need when injury strikes. You could even save a life.
But having a rugby first aid kit is also one of the rules rugby team coaches must abide by. Here, we’ll look at what you need to know about Rugby Union and Rugby League first aid kit rules.
Rugby Union and Rugby League Requirements
England Rugby, the national governing body (NGB) for Rugby Union, recommends that every pitch-side first aider has their own first aid kit, and at least one stocked first aid kit should be in the clubhouse. Check with the facilities provider that there is a first aid kit on-site and the first aid room is accessible and fully functional before playing.
England Rugby also advises that first aid equipment should be checked regularly to ensure it is in good condition, in good stock, and not out of date (Sterosport can remind you of products in your first aid kit going out of date if you partner with us).
Rugby League’s guidance towards first aid sets out a detailed list of requirements, including regular checks to ensure the first aid kit is fully stocked and in good condition. The responsible first aider should also be fully trained on using its contents. The kit should also be with them at all times during play. The team should have access to a first aid room at all times.
What should be in a rugby first aid kit?
Rugby Union and Rugby League have their differences, so it’s essential to follow the guidance of the NGB of the sport you play. Here are two comprehensive lists of all the supplies you should include in your first aid kit for rugby teams, as recommended by the Rugby Union and Rugby League.
Taken from England Rugby’s First Aid Equipment and Treatment document.
- Accident Book (and pen)
- Disposable gloves
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Antiseptic wipes
- Assorted size sterile wound dressings
- Assorted size gauze swabs
- Assorted size adhesive plasters
- Assorted size bandages (adhesive & non-adhesive)
- Single-use triangular bandages
- Assorted size
- Sterile wound closure strips
- Sterile eye pads
- Sterile Water pods
- Resuscitation aid (Pocket Mask)
- Disposable resuscitation aid (Field Shield)
- Micropore Tape
- Safety pins
- Tough cut scissors
- Waste bag
- Emergency foil blanket
- Water bottle (for cleaning wounds)
Rugby League Recommended First Aid Kit Contents
Taken from Rugby League’s First Aid Standards document.
- Guidance card
- 4 pairs of latex-free (nitrile) disposable gloves
- Hand sanitiser
- Face-shield or pocket mask (disposable resuscitation aid)
- ‘Tufcut’ scissors
- Water/spray bottle (and clean, preferably sterile water)
- Gauze swabs
- 6 crepe bandages (2x5cm/2x10cm/2x15cm)
- Cotton wool roll
- 2 large, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings (non-adhesive)
- 6 medium, sterile unmedicated wound dressings (non-adhesive)
- 1 roll of zinc oxide tape (to secure wound dressings)
- 20 plasters (assorted sizes) sterile, individually wrapped, hypoallergenic
- 4 triangular bandages
- Sterile, saline cleansing wipes
- 2 sterile eye pads
- 2 sterile water “sachets”/” pods”
- 1 litre of sterile water (normal saline) in a sealed disposable container
- 2 yellow disposable clinical waste bags
- Material and foil blanket
Rugby First Aid Kit Essentials
PPE and Infection Control
Half of administering appropriate first aid is about ensuring there’s minimal chance of infection, cross-contamination, or exacerbation of an injury through dirty handling. Ensure your hands are clean and covered with gloves when you treat wounds and that wounds are properly cleaned before you dress them.
Gloves are also important to protect yourself from bodily fluids. Include disposable gloves, antibacterial hand gel, antiseptic wipes, wound wash, and waste bags in your first aid kit.
Guidance and Reporting
One aspect of first aid often overlooked is recording what happens and when during an incident. This is essential for a few different reasons:
- To assist professional medical personnel if required to give accurate details about the injury.
- To assist with any legal enquiries should they arise. You will be able to demonstrate that you followed the right procedures.
- To help when conducting risk assessments in the future for better first aid provision.
Because of this, make sure your first aid kit includes an accident report book and a pen to make notes.
Wound Dressing and Bandaging
Wound dressings and bandage supplies will make up most of your first aid kit. There should be a wide selection of dressings and bandages to suit many different wounds. A good rugby first aid kit will include a selection of the most commonly used items.
We recommend a range of wound dressings, gauze swabs, plasters, bandages, triangular bandages, sutures, and eye pads. It’s also important to include microporous tape, safety pins, and scissors to cut bandages and secure them in place.
Trauma, Shock, and Survival
When a severe injury occurs on the field, the casualty could go into shock, perhaps they collapse and stop breathing due to cardiac arrest, or they hurt their back or neck and need to stay still while you wait for paramedics.
In these cases, it’s vital to have basic supplies at the ready to deal with shock and trauma. We highly recommend a foil blanket (and a fabric blanket if you have space, or you could fetch one from the first aid room), a water bottle, an umbrella, and a resusciade (a device that allows for hygienic mouth-to-mouth resuscitation without direct contact).
Other Rugby First Aid
If someone goes into cardiac arrest, the only way to save them is through CPR and a defibrillator. You must start CPR within two minutes of cardiac arrest and use a defibrillator as soon as possible to help the casualty.
All rugby facilities should give access to a public access defibrillator. Make sure yours does, and your team know where it is.
England Rugby advises that drugs, both prescription and non-prescription, should not be administered by first aiders and should not be kept in the first aid kit. Even over the counter painkillers affect different people in different ways, and without knowing for sure, you could end up hurting someone by accident.
Players themselves, or the parents of juniors, should take responsibility for medication. All medication should be clearly labelled and stored separately from the first aid kit.
Stretchers and Spinal Boards
When a player is seriously injured, they might not be able to move. However, it’s important that only trained professionals use stretchers, scoops, and spinal boards. Incorrect use could result in worsening of the injury.
At Sterosport, we sell lots of essential evacuation equipment for professional use. But as emergency first aiders attending to rugby teams are not usually trained in their use, it’s important to keep the casualty where they are until paramedics arrive.
At least one person in every rugby team should be qualified in first aid to comply with NGB guidance. Find out about recommended rugby first aid courses in our blog.
Rugby League advises that a diluted bleach solution should be on hand either inside or near the first aid kit. This solution should be made up of “15mls of standard washing-up liquid and 32mls of standard household bleach.”
The purpose of the bleach solution is to decontaminate clothing or equipment that has come into contact with blood. The contaminated surface should be soaked in the bleach solution for anywhere between one and five minutes and should be thoroughly rinsed with water before the player returns to the field.
Take care to avoid a player’s eyes, nose, and mouth when using a bleach solution and ensure you rinse any skin that has been sprayed.
Rugby First Aid Kits Made to NGB Standards
Sterosport has partnered with sports injury specialists, leagues, and teams to make a first aid kit that meets national governing body standards and requirements. The sports first aid kit is fully equipped with all first aid essentials for the most common injuries players face on the field.
The rugby first aid kit bag has individual compartments and comes with a handle so it can be grabbed and taken onto the field at a moment’s notice.
We also stock a more extensive sports medical kit for certified physiotherapists and medics, which contacts additional items to administer aftercare.
First aid kits for rugby clubs are widely available, but what about kits for juniors? For coaches of junior teams, our junior sports team first aid kit is specially designed to help you treat common injuries kids suffer in sports.
The First Aid Room
The first aid room should be easily accessed and signposted from the field and should be reserved explicitly for providing first aid. A designated individual, usually the first aider, should be responsible for the first aid room. Before commencing play, it’s important to check the first aid room is in good condition and has the following (as recommended by England Rugby):
- A sink with access to hot and cold running water
- Potable water with clean or disposable cups
- Soap and disposable paper towels
- A lined bin for general waste
- A lined bin for clinical waste
- Secure storage for first aid supplies
- A clean and waterproof couch or bed with pillows and blankets
- A chair
- Phone access
- A book where accidents can be recorded and a pen
In addition to the first aid room, Rugby League recommends that all rugby fields have adequate access to emergency vehicles so seriously injured players can be easily reached.
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