Best First Aid Kit for Fight Injuries Reviewed & Rated
Martial arts might seem like senseless violence from the outside. People connected to these sports, however, know that this is far from the truth. Yes, martial arts is violent. But it’s not senseless and when a fighter becomes injured, even if they carry on with the fight, the medical staff is on hand to make sure that everyone is as safe as they can be without forgoing the sport altogether. Even sparring gyms tend to have fight-specific first aid kits on hand, their contents tailored to treat those injuries that are most likely to occur during a fight. The stereotype of a fighter is that they will shrug off even serious injury for the sake of their pride, but a smart fighter knows that treating their injuries is the only way that they will be able to continue on in the sport they love.
First aid kits specifically equipped to treat fighting injuries are incredibly valuable in gyms and competitions arenas. Anywhere that fighters might go head-to-head, really. These kits don’t have the usual Neosporin and bandages because those sorts of injuries aren’t the types that truly need treating. Instead, they have to be equipped for broken or fractured bones, neck and head injuries, and damage to the area around a fighter’s eyes, nose, and mouth. The best kits are also equipped to keep broken limbs steady and fighters comfortable until experienced medical personnel can be reached. These kits do not come cheap, but they bring a sense of safety, seriousness, and legitimacy to the venues that have them.
- Lightning X Deluxe EMT Kit
- Blood Pressure Cuff
- C-Collars and Splints
- MFASCO First Aid Kit
- Multiple Ice Packs
- Trauma Scissors
- Aootek Upgraded Survival Kit
- Arm Sling
- Bandages and Alcohol
10 Best First Aid Kits
1. Lightning X Deluxe EMT Kit
Neck injuries and bone fractures are the most serious of the common fight-related injuries. They absolutely must be treated at a hospital. But before they can be treated, the fighter must be moved to from the location of the fight and this can pose the risk of further damaging the injured area. C-collars help to stabilize the neck while splints will keep broken limbs or fingers from moving too much while the fighter is being relocated.
Blood Pressure Cuff/strong>
Most people would not know what to do with a blood pressure cuff in an emergency situation but all fight medics should be trained in the warning signs of shock, one of which is an abnormal blood pressure. This is not likely to be needed in most medical situations, but those when it is needed are highly traumatic and every tool available makes it that much easier to stabilize the fighter.
Cost and Value
This is certainly the most expensive kit on the list but it is also the most well-rounded. It was put together for first responders as a go-bag which makes it ideal for medics who are working in on-the-go situations like medical emergencies at fight venues. It is certainly an investment, but it is one well worth making for those who make a career in the medical field.
Blood Pressure Cuff
C-Collars and Splints
Large Investment Cost
2. MFASCO First Aid Kit
Both stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs are not the type of supplies that would seem immediately necessary for a fight medic. However, they are two of the most important pieces of equipment if something goes very wrong. Serious conditions like shock, internal bleeding, and fluid in the lungs can be detected with these tools and early detection is key to avoiding the serious damage that these issues can cause.
Fight injuries tend to swell. Whether the injury is to the foot, face, or hand, swelling is inevitable. This isn't an issue if the martial artist is barefoot or if the swelling is somewhere outside their glove, but if the swollen area is inside a boxing glove or wrist wrap, getting to it can risk further injuring the fighter. This is where trauma scissors become most useful. They allow fight medics to cut through equipment in order to reach the area that needs treatment. It might be distressing to watch a favorite pair of boxing gloves be cut in half but it is a lot better than permanent damage to the small bones of the hand.
Cost and Value
MFASCO is a more affordable supplier than Lightning but that affordability comes with a little bit of a catch. Their kit does not have a C-collar for the prevention of additional damage after a neck injury and the bag itself is not well-designed to handle the small pieces that make up the body of the kit. If the missing pieces can be supplied and bag hand-organized without breaking the bank, however, the savings might be well worth it.
Multiple Ice Packs
Stethoscope and Blood Pressure Cuff
Hard to Organize
9. Aootek Upgraded Survival
Arm slings are an absolute must, especially in sports where moves like armbars are allowed. These maneuvers are likely to end in a sprained or fractured limb, especially when the person's opponent is aiming for a submission win but the patient wouldn't quit. This kit ensures that a sling is always on hand, even when the pack is small enough to fit in most handbags
This kit easily took the title of "Best Value" thanks to its low price and an astounding range of supplies. It can easily transition from a fight medic's kit to a medical kit for camping, travel, or another situation where the need for one arises. Its contents are that diverse and its price is that affordable.
Cost and Value
There is a reason that this kit took the title of "Best Value" even when other kits were priced identically. It is wonderfully diverse and is ideal for anyone - and I mean anyone - who wants to keep an emergency aid bag on hand. It is small enough to fit in most bags and can cover most basic injuries without missing a step.
Bandages and Alcohol
4. Surviveware Small Kit
Eye wounds are grisly things. Even if the wound is not the eye itself but the area around it, there is likely to be more blood than most people expect. This blood can then get into the eye and cause agitation which only creates more problems for both the fighter and the medic. Eye pads are bandages specifically designed to go over the eyes without causing more damage. This allows them to either protect a damaged eye until the fighter can get to a hospital or keep blood out of the eye while other treatments are going on.
Unlike larger kits that fill whole duffel bags, this kit is intended to fit inside a moderately sized tote or gym bag. The compact first aid bag is packed to the seams with supplies and medical equipment although its diminutive size prevents it from offering things like splints or c-collars, though these could be added on.
Cost and Value
This is an excellent base kit. It has all the small parts necessary for a fight medic's job and its affordable price means that the larger pieces, like splints and cuffs, can easily be added on without breaking the bank.
No Splints or Cuffs
5. Adventure Medical Kits Advanced Clotting Kit
This coagulation agent is touted as one of the best on the market. It is intended to quickly stop bleeding without causing further damage to the area. It will have to be cleaned out of the wound before further treatment can be offered, but it is ideal for helping treat large trauma points so that they do not lead to further issues like shock or blood loss.
As this product is only the coagulation agent, it is more of an add-on to larger kits than a kit in and of itself. Most pre-filled medic supply sets overlook this sort of thing, in large part because they can pose a risk of causing burns if applied incorrectly. But properly trained and prepared medics will find them immensely valuable in severe situations
Cost and Value
This product is the most affordable on the list although it missed the title of "Best Value" due to the fact that it is not a full medical kit but simply a single component of one. It did make the list, however, because it is an unusual add-on that can be of immense value in extreme situations and should be considered to round out pre-existing kits.
Quickly Stop Bleeding
Excellent Add-On to Other Kits
Keeps Users Safe Too
Only a Blood-Clotting Kit
6. M2 Basics
Arm slings are one of the most simple yet effective tools in any medic's arsenal. It is easily applied and allows injured wrists and arms to rest without adding further potential damage to the limb. They are one-size-fits-all for the most part and are easy to remove at the hospital once the fighter goes for a more thorough check and long-lasting cast.
Practicing medicine is not a clean business. This is even more accurate when the medical staff is working at a sports venue instead of the sterile halls of a hospital. Medical masks offer at least some protection from the grislier aspects of medical work. They keep fluids and such away from the medic's mouth while also keeping any germs carried by the medic from further complicating the fighter's health.
Cost and Value
M2 Basics is one of the most affordable kits on this list and that is likely due to its broad application possibilities and lack of specialty equipment. Its small size allows it to be tossed into a gym bag or a larger kit as a quick-grab supplement should the need arise and its low cost means that medics can supplement it without spending every dime.
7. Protect Life 200 Pc Kit
Split knuckles are without a doubt the most common martial arts injuries. Any hand strike runs the risk of leaving both fighters with split knuckles and the inevitable subsequent bleeding. Bandages designed for general use are not likely to stay on through the flexes and shifts the knuckles go through, particularly in a sport that requires the clenching and unclenching of a person's hands. Knuckle bandages, also called butterfly bandages, are designed to fit over or between individual knuckles so that the covering is more likely to stay in place.
Head injuries bleed a lot. Most people don't realize how badly even minor injuries to the face and head are likely to bleed until they receive one and it looks much more ghastly than the injury actually is. An unfortunate side effect of this is that blood can get into a person's eyes and cause further agitation or damage. Eye pads, however, help staunch the blood from any spot from around the eye while protecting the organ itself from agitation.
Cost and Value
200 pieces for an affordable price is a great deal. It's even more impressive when the contents of the kit include not only knuckle bandages and eye pads but slings and low-grade trauma scissors as well. This makes Protect Life a great company to get a starter pack from or an ideal place to get a supplement to a larger pack.
No Splints or Cuffs
8. Thrive 291 Pc Kit
Those involved with martial arts know how common arm injuries are. So while people outside the sport might think that an arm sling is a bit over-the-top for a medic's first aid kit, everyone else knows that having one is good. And, for the sake of preparedness, having two is better.
Four Eye Pads
This kit seems tailor-made to treat two injured fighters at once which is not always the case with smaller supply sets. Despite the pack's diminutive size, it offers four eye pads among various other bandages and treatment supplies so that neither fighter has to go without medical attention when they need it.
Cost and Value
Thrive is another company that offers a solid base-level med kit for an affordable price. This one has its own set of low-impact trauma scissors as well as a CPR mask to keep everyone safe should the need for mouth-to-mouth arise. The lack of splints and cuffs may be a problem but those can easily be added on while still keeping the supplies within an affordable price range.
Multiple Arm Slings
4 Eye Pads
Mouth to Mouth Mask
No Splints or Cuffs
3. Swiss Safe 120 Pc Kit
If a fighter needs CPR, the situation is dire and most people would rather assume that such situations do not arise. The unfortunate fact is that they do and when CPR is needed, a protective mask makes sure that both the fighter and the medic stay safe. It's a piece of equipment that most media depictions of CPR leave out but it is incredibly important in the real-world where diseases and germs are most easily communicated via the mouth.
The ice packs in this kit are not the sort of ice pack that can be found in most home freezers. They freeze through a chemical reaction within the pouch and can provide a cold compress in moments if applied correctly. This compress can help bring down swelling which then makes afflicted areas easier to treat.
Cost and Value
This kit is much smaller than either of the two mentioned above. It lacks many of the more specialized pieces such as eye pads and a c-collar but it is a starter set or as a base kit for martial arts schools where the fighting is a little more controlled. It can also be used to restock other kits or supplement things that they may be missing thanks to its affordable price.
No Eye Pads
10. Ever Ready First Responder Kit
The final product on this list brings it full-circle right back to kits designed for first responders. This means that Ever Ready has included a blood pressure cuff so that medics can ensure their patients are not slipping into shock after a brutal fight.
The moment when a fighter needs a splint is not the moment to realize that one is not on hand. Broken and fractured limbs are mind-numbingly painful and moving the patient to a hospital carries the real risk of further injury. This kit takes some of the stress out of the situation by making sure a splint is on hand.
Cost and Value
The price for this kit is more than triple that of most kits on this list, but it also offers much more. Ever Ready did not skimp on the supplies and instead tried their best to make sure that first responders and medics on-the-go had everything they need to take proper care of their patients. The bag itself is somewhat weak and may need to be replaced, but that is a small issue when compared to the range of situations anyone carrying this kit will be ready for.
Blood Pressure Cuff
Bag Itself is Weakly Made
Martial arts will always lead to injuries. It’s the nature of the beast. That is no reason to avoid them, however. Proper first aid and proper combat etiquette are often enough to keep the most serious dangers at bay. The rest can be treated with any one of the kits listed above, particularly if they are applied by a trained medical professional. These kits are not miracle cures and fighters should still seek medical help if they become injured, but they can help make the difference between an inconvenience and a tragedy. Buyers wary of the price tag can consider them as investments into the future of a venue as well as in the futures of the fighters who practice and compete there. These sort of investments are invaluable for both the fighters and the people supplying the first aid kit. They do more than just treat injuries, they support the entire concept of a martial arts community.
Criteria For Evaluating the Best First Aid Kits
There was only one criterion used to evaluate these kits and that was a judgment on the supplies they offered. Common first aid kits do not come stocked with the sort of items that are most needed by fight medics and even those that do come with the necessary equipment are often lacking an integral piece. The supplies listed below are those deemed most necessary for fight medics, broken down by the particular niche of supplies to which they belong.
Splints and Collars
The two most common types of injuries sustained by fighters are to the neck and arm. Both of these locations must be examined at a hospital after they are injured, but both must be stabilized before the patient can be successfully moved from the fight location so as not to risk further damage. This is where splints and collars become necessary.
- Neck Braces: Head injuries are unfortunately common among martial artists. The vulnerability of the head, coupled with the temptation of a knock-out win, often lead opponents to aim high. This can lead to injury, whether or not the attack even lands. fractures, sprains, and whiplash can all occur and they are all seriously traumatic. Proper medical kits for fights must prepare for this possibility by keeping a neck brace or two on hand to ensure that fighters so not continue to try and move the affected areas until it can be checked on at the hospital and assessed for any lasting damage.
- Slings: Slings are deceptively simple and incredibly necessary. These often-triangular pieces of material tie behind the neck and give an injured arm or wrist a place to rest without having to plan any tension on the muscles in that limb. And while broken limbs may seem rare among martial artists, sprains and fractures are not. Arm injuries are actually among the most common injuries experienced by MMA fighters due to the use of armbars to force submission wins. This maneuver can causes sprains and fractures when enough pressure is applied. Slings will allow fighters to rest their arms while awaiting further medical care.
- Long Limb Splint: Long limbs, in this case, are the arms and the legs. Splints for these limbs tend are usually long straight forms between which the limb can be tied or pinned. And while seriously broken legs or arms might not seem likely in a controlled martial arts environment, they do occur. They should be treated by a medical professional, whether it’s a broken bone or just a sprain, but any on-hand first aid kit should consider having splints available to help stabilize fighters until medical help can arrive.
- Finger Splints: Finger and hand injuries are the most common wounds across all branches of martial arts. These can occur during competition or practice when facing another person or simply through misuse of training materials like heavy bags or breaking boards. Finger splints are therefore an absolute necessity. They will help ensure that the fingers heal straight after a fracture or a break while also making sure that the fighter does not forget the injury and do further damage to the area.
Open Wound Supplies
Open wounds are not incredibly common among fighters but they do happen, particularly in the more aggressive styles or in styles where street clothes are worn. These injuries are usually treatable with the contents of any first aid kit, but there are a few additional pieces of equipment that would be good additions to treat fighters.
- Eye Pads: Faces are one of the most common targets in martial arts regardless of the specific fighting style. Headshots are an easy way to win by knockout and they’re a convenient location that most people do not protect well enough. This methodology makes sense when framed by the rules of the competitions but it also means that a lot of fights result in injuries to and around the eyes. Eye pads are specifically designed to stop any bleeding around the eyes to reduce the risk of blood getting into the eye itself. They are also designed to protect the eye in the event of serious damage so that no further injury occurs before a doctor can be called.
- Coagulation Agents: Coagulation agents can be a bit controversial but their use cannot be denied. There was a time when coagulation agents could only be used by well-trained individuals because the compounds would become hot while they worked, especially if they came into contact with sweat. This resulted in heat that caused serious burns on already injured people. Modern agents should still be used with caution but they should be a little bit safer and are unspeakably helpful in the event of trauma.
Bandages are a key component of any first aid kit. Medical kits for fighters, however, require a little more variety than most other sets would and they have a particular use for some bandage types over others.
Gauze: Gauze is not the first thing most people think of when bandages are mentioned, but it is one of the most versatile bandaging agents in most first aid kits. It can cut into small segments for smaller wounds or wrapped around whole limbs when the wounds are much larger. Gauze can be used just about anywhere an injury is received which is makes it especially useful in situations where the entire body is a target for injury.
Butterfly Bandages: Butterfly bandages, also known as hourglass bandages, bandages specifically designed to go over and between knuckles and fingers. The skin over a fighter’s knuckles is likely to break at some point during a fight, particularly in those sports where padded gloves are not normally employed. Most bandages cannot handle the constant flexing and motion of the human knuckle, particularly if they are worn by someone who is clenching and unclenching their hands. Butterfly bandages, on the other hand, are specifically suited to stay in place through the unique motions of the human hand.
Bandage Size Variety: This is a trait common to most first aid kits but it is especially helpful in kits intended to treat fighters. Abrasions and wounds sustained in a fight can range from a few centimeters to a few inches depending on how they were caused. This size difference means that different sizes of bandages are best suited to covering the would without limiting the fighter’s ability to either get back into the fight or to receive further medical care.
Diagnostic and General Supplies
The fourth category of supplies are the diagnostic and general supplies. These could be considered as two different categories but most first aid kits have few items from either category, so combining them makes more sense. Diagnostic tools are those medical supplies that are used to make sure the fighter is not injured internally as well as to take the fighter’s vitals so that their health can be more closely monitored. General supplies are those products that are more for cleaning wounds, safeguarding the medical provider’s health, or in some other way making it easier to treat an injured fighter.
- Blood Pressure Cuffs: Blood pressure cuffs are most useful in the hands of a trained medical professional though just about anyone can use them. These tools might not seem important on the surface, particularly since they are most often used to check blood pressure in relation to cholesterol. But if a fighter is injured badly enough, it is important for medical providers to know if their blood pressure is too low or too high. Either one could be a sign of shock or serious internal trauma that requires an immediate evacuation to a hospital.
- Stethoscope: This is another tool that is most useful in the hands of a trained EMT but can be used by just about anyone. It is, unfortunately, also a tool that is only likely to be used after a severe injury where there is concern that not all of the damage can be seen. Stethoscopes allow the medical provider to get a better idea of the patient’s heart rate so that they can ensure it is not too weak or too rapid. This tool also allows them to make sure the lungs are clear and the patient can breathe without laboring which would be a sign of a serious internal issue.
- Ice Pack: Ice packs are the sort of thing that everyone has in the freezer even though nobody thinks about them until they need them. It would almost be strange to open someone’s freezer and not see an ice pack. The ice packs in first aid packs are a little different because they don’t need to stay frozen. They are chilled chemically when needed. And they will almost certainly be needed when treating fight-related injuries. Ice packs can help bring down swelling and body temperature which, in turn, ease treatment of the patient’s injuries.
- Eyewash: As mentioned above, the area around the eyes bleeds heavily if the skin is broken. This can cause blood and sweat to get into the eyes which, at the very least, will agitate the victim’s eyes and potentially make them harder to treat. Injuries to the bones surrounding the eye are particularly troublesome, but before they can be bandaged with the eye pads mentioned above, they should be washed out with eyewash. Eyewash is formulated to help clean debris and foreign fluids out of the eye without adding any aggravation to the sensitive organs.
- CPR Masks: When most people think of CPR, they think of mouth-to-mouth contact. There have been so many jokes made about it that it’s a cliche at this point. And for people who aren’t first responders, that is usually how CPR looks if they are unfortunate enough to need it or need to give it. First responders, however, are favoring the use of CPR masks more and more often. These small rectangular masks allow the medical personnel to give CPR without risking the transfer of germs from one person to another. They keep both people safe so that a secondary complication does not endanger anyone after the need for CPR has passed.
- Trauma Scissors: Everyone has seen a pair of trauma scissors – also known as trauma shears – even if they don’t know it. These are the scissors that are more or less flat with metal segments that look like check marks instead of the usual straight line. They are designed to lay flat against the skin without cutting the patient so that medical personnel can remove clothing that may be covering up wounds or getting in the way of treatment. They aren’t strictly necessary for someone offering medical aid to fighters, but they are infinitely useful in getting gloves, wraps, shorts, and just about any other sort of clothing off of a broken or swelling limb.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the most common martial arts injuries?
A: On the surface level, minor abrasions and bruising are the most common injuries sustained during a fight. The most common serious injuries are sprains and bone fractures.
Q: Are some martial artists more likely to be injured?
A: A few studies done over the last few years have shown that MMA fighters tend to suffer more injuries. This is likely due to the more freeform nature of the martial arts style as well as the types of attacks that are most common during MMA bouts.
Q: Why do some injuries occur more often than others?
A: The frequency with which certain injuries occur depends on how often they are used during bouts as well as how much power a fighter is likely to put behind them. In MMA these maneuvers tend to be head and arm injuries because headshots can lead to a quick, knockout win and armbars are the most likely position to earn a win by opponent submission.
Q: Are there things that should be added to these kits?
A: Some of the kits do not have supplies like neck splints or stethoscopes that would make the kits ideal for anyone offering medical assistance at a fight. Any kits missing these sorts of supplies can be rounded out by adding them in or having them available separately. A few pieces that might be helpful but do not appear in any of the kits would be an emergency blanket, a face mask for the medical responder to wear, and any medical supplies tailored to mouth injuries.
Q: Are these kits useful as general first aid kits?
A: Most of these kits would actually be over-the-top if used as general first aid kits. Fight-related injuries are often more brutal than run-of-the-mill injuries, for obvious reasons, so the supplies needed by fight medics are often more in line with supplies that a first responder or EMT would want to keep on hand. General first aid kits are usually stocked well enough if they have bandages, ointments, gauze, an ice pack, and a CPR mask.
Q: Can I transfer the supplies to a different bag?
A: There’s no obvious reason to use only the bag that the supplies come in. Some of them are designed with multiple pockets so that it will be easier to organize a large number of small components, but that can be replicated in just about any bag with the right tools. So long as the new vessel is large enough and sturdy enough, there’s really no limit to the sorts of things that can serve as a carrying case for medical supplies.