Swindon Town FC's physio, Dick Mackey, reveals that he needs more than just a magic sponge to patch up a modern-day footballer. Here's what in his bag...
Clears wounds or soaks up blood.
More after the break
Cohesive bandages are useful for head injuries, along with absorbent and non-absorbent dressings. With any luck, they stay on!
It’s like a red thin tape you put underneath a player’s strapping to avoid chaffing and friction.
4. Petroleum jelly
This isn’t ideal because you have to lather it on a wound and things can get stuck in there, making it difficult if sutures are needed. But most things you do during a game are a quick fix. As long as you allay any immediate fears and get a player going again, you’ve done your job.
5. Medical gloves
These are a must, according to the FA. I suppose they do protect physios from the threat of Hepatitis B, because we do have to mess around with blood. I’d expect one pair to last a game, but then it depends on the injuries you have to treat.
Players are a bit over-obsessive about tape. I carry it mainly for the substitutes to use before they go on.
We don’t use the old ‘magic sponge’ anymore, but water can have a slight anaesthetic effect as well as wash the affected area after a player has been crocked.
You hope you never have to use one as they’re only useful if a player is unconscious. It would have to be fairly catastrophic to have to get the airway out during a game.
9. Cotton plugs
These are very important. They soak up blood from a player’s nose. They’re not a million miles away from tampons – which are also very good – but with these you simply smear them with petroleum jelly and slide them in. A player’s blood flow during a game is much quicker so, if they’re injured, they bleed profusely and it can be difficult to stop the flow.
10. Contact lenses
There’s nothing more embarrassing than a player losing a lens and you having to try and find it on the pitch! So I carry lenses and saline solution.
11. Smelling salts
They can cause temporary blindness, so I wouldn’t use them on an unconscious player. Some lads use them for a ‘little kick’ pre-match.
12. Vapour rub
Loads of players put this on their shirts; it helps them breathe more easily. It’s a decongestant, although I think some players wear it out of habit, for comfort almost.
I always carry fluids. When I go on, it can be the one chance a player gets to take something on board.
You can get thermal ice packs, but I prefer the real thing. I leave Deep Heat in the dressing room to keep the bag light and minimalist.