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First Aid

Although boffering is a safe sport, accidents do happen. This guide will familiarize you with the more common injuries that can occur and how to properly treat them. It will also show you how to create a small first aid kit that is specially designed for boffering.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. The following first aid tips have been compiled from reputable sources, but I am not responsible for any problems that may occur while using my first aid documents.

Blisters - example
Blisters are one of the most common problems for new players. They are very simple to treat, but the player shouldn't play again until the blister has healed or it could get infected.

If the blister is not broken:

  • Swab blister area with rubbing alcohol and let air dry.
  • Sterilize a needle for 10 seconds in a flame.
  • Puncture the edge of the blister near the skin.
  • Sterilize the -entire- needle again to kill any new bacteria.
  • Apply gentle pressure to squeeze out fluid.
  • Do not remove or rub off the top of the blister.
  • Continue with the next steps.

If the blister is already broken:

  • Apply antibiotic ointment, but avoid alcohol or iodine.
  • Cover with sterile gauze or bandage
  • Change the gauze or bandage daily.
  • If pus or redness develops, seek medical attention.

Minor Cuts - example
The hands and fingers are often the place to get minor cuts, as they are one of the more common areas to get hit.

  • Put on rubber gloves before touching any bleeding area.
  • Gently wash the area with a mild hand soap and water.
  • Apply a generous amount of anti-bacterial ointment to the cut.
  • Apply an adhesive bandage to the cut firmly. Tight enough for constant pressure, but not too tight to stop the blood flow.
  • Dispose of the latex gloves and wash your hands.
  • Change the bandage daily.
  • If the cut fails to show signs of healing or pus develops, seek medical attention.

Bruises - example
Most minor bruises will usually go away after a few days without treatment. Larger bruises may require treatment.

  • If the area is dirty or scraped, gently clean it with soapy water and dry it.
  • Apply a cold pack wrapped in cloth to the affected area for 20 minutes every two hours.
  • When not using a cold pack, wrap the area in an ace bandage.
  • Raise the affected limb to a level above your heart.
  • Take ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.) to bring down inflammation.
  • See the doctor if there is significant swelling, stabbing or radiating pain or numbness.

Bloody Nose
You can usually take several nose shots before getting a bloody nose, but if it does happen it's very easy to treat.

  • Put on rubber gloves before touching any bleeding area.
  • Have the person in a sitting position, with their head leaning slightly forward. (Do not lean your head back or you may swallow blood.)
  • Place a cold pack on the back of the persons neck.
  • Apply constant pressure by pinching the nostrils (the tip of the nose) until the bleeding stops.
  • If the bleeding continues for over 10 minutes seek medical attention.
  • Dispose of the latex gloves and wash your hands.
  • If the nose continues to bleed off and on seek medical attention.

Large Cuts
Serious cuts very rarely happen in boffer fighting. When they occur, they are usually attributed to collisions with foreign objects in the playing area like broken glass. Large cuts can be treated in the same way as small cuts except they usually require larger bandages to cover. Keep pressure on the cut. Always use latex gloves before handling someone who is bleeding. Any large cut should be inspected by a doctor to see if it needs stiching. Explain to your doctor what it was that caused the cut, to see if any special treatment may be necessary.

Pulled Muscles
This is common to players who forget to stretch before they start, or new players who aren't used to vigorous exercise. Pulled muscles and ligaments occur when the person stretches too far or over exerts a muscle. They are quite painful, but simple to treat.

  • Take any weight off the painful area and elevate it.
  • Place an ice pack on the painful area.
  • When the swelling goes down, wrap the injured area in an ace bandage.
  • The pain will persist for several days after, but should reduce each day provided you don't use the injured area. If the pain doesn't reduce seek medical attention.

Damage to the Eye
Boffer weapons are specially designed not to fit into the eye socket. However, it is possible to take a hit near the eye which can cause some damage to the eye area. Because the eye is such a sensitive area take great care when treating eye injuries. If the eye, or the area surrounding the eye, is damaged do the following.

  • Put the person in a sitting position, tell them to try not to blink or rub the area.
  • Their eye will probably start to water, which is good. Let the eyes water naturally to clean the area.
  • Examine the eye. Check for blood, scratches, or discoloration. If any damage has occurred to the actual eye immediately seek medical attention.
  • Test the person's vision, ask if their vision is blurred, fuzzy, or if they are seeing double.
  • If their vision is hindered gently place a cloth covered ice pack over their injured eye.
  • If their vision doesn't return to normal within a few minutes seek medical attention.

Damage to the Genitals
For men, this is one of the most painful injuries they can ever get. This is a very sensitive area where permanent damage can easily occur. These injuries can easily be avoided by wearing an athletic supporter.

  • Don't move the person for awhile, allow them to catch their breath. Do not put additional pressure on the damaged area.
  • After the person can walk again, help them to a bed and lay them down.
  • Very gently apply a cold pack to the damaged area.
  • The pain will remain for several days, but should reduce each day. If the pain doesn't reduce, seek medical attention.
  • Blood may show up in the semen but should go away after a week. If it continues to occur, seek medical attention.

Damage to the Breasts - example
Women's breasts are usually areas sensitive to pain and due to their location, they are often hit. To reduce the amount of pain received women may choose to wear a padded bra or a sports bra for added support. If the area is damaged severely follow the steps of treating bruises.

Although I've never seen this to happen, it is possible if a very hard hit to the head occurs. This is a very severe injury and should be treated as such.

  • Do not attempt to move anyone who is knocked unconscious.
  • If the person is knocked unconscious check to make sure they have a pulse and that they are still breathing. If not, call for an ambulance immediatly.
  • Attempt to revive the person, but do not shake them.
  • When the person wakes do not allow them to sit up.
  • Ask them if they can move their fingers and toes. If they can't, do not let them attempt to move, call an ambulance.
  • If they can successfully move their body without problems, help them up and move them to place where they can lay down.
  • Gently place an ice pack on the injured area.
  • You should always seek medical attention when someone loses consciousness just in case of spinal injury.

When playing an active sport in the heat of summer, you must be careful not to over heat your body. Heatstroke can be very dangerous and possibly fatal if not treated right away. If symptoms include suffering from shallow breathing, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, or feinting you should do the following:

  • Quickly remove the person from the sun and get them in a shady area.
  • Attempt to keep them cool with cold water, fans, and wet sheets.
  • Always seek medical attention immediately for victims of heatstroke.

Sunburn - example
Staying outside in the ultraviolet rays of the sun for prolonged amounts of time will eventually give you sunburn. This can be avoided by wearing sun block. However, if sunburn develops do the the following:

  • If the sunburn is very red and blistering, seek medical attention.
  • For more minor sunburns, try taking a cool bath or shower.
  • Apply an aloe vera lotion several times a day. Make sure the area remains moist.
  • Leave blisters intact to speed healing and avoid infection. If they burst, apply an antibacterial ointment on the open areas.
  • If the sunburn doesn't show signs of healing or becomes infected, seek medical attention.

First Aid Kit
The following is a list of items that you should always have on hand before every boffering session.

  • Adhesive Bandages - for small cuts and scrapes.
  • Gauze and Surgical Tape - for larger cuts.
  • Scissors - to cut gauze and tape.
  • Antibiotic Cream - to prevent infections on cuts.
  • Cotton Balls and Cotton Swabs - for cleaning wounds.
  • Latex Gloves - for handling blood.
  • Tweezers and Needles - for removing splinters and blisters.
  • Lighter - for sterilizing any bloody equipment.
  • Liquid Soap - for cleaning wounds.
  • Cotton Washcloth - for cleaning wounds.
  • Rubbing Alcohol - for sterilizing areas. (do not use on cuts!)
  • Cold Packs - for treating bruises.
  • Ace Bandages - for wrapping bruises.
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) - relieves pain and inflammation.
  • Sun Block - to prevent sunburn. (SPF 15 or higher.)

Outside Links - Mayo Clinic, First Aid. - Health World Online, First Aid. - KidsHealth, First Aid.

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