Gear & Stuff

More Than a Fanny Pack

By Tanya Davies

You’re watching a rugby game when a player goes down – and stays down in obvious pain. The team’s Athletic Therapist runs from the sideline, fanny pack ready. They treat the player, who gets up and returns to play. It makes you wonder: What’s in that magic fanny pack? And is a field-side Athletic Therapist ever without one?

“No,” says Jason White, Certified Athletic Therapist at Physiohealth Studios in Toronto, “you will never see an AT without their fanny pack;  It’s our badge that identifies us as an Athletic Therapist next to the field of play.”

Jason should know. He is the AT for Rugby Canada, the Ontario Sledge Hockey team and was a field-side AT for the ParaPan Am and Invictus games in Toronto.

What ATs include in their packs will depend on the sport and the team. “Every sport has its own needs of required first aid supplies and sport-specific taping enhancement supplies,” explains Jason. “Rules and polices differ from sport to sport and so do the needs of individual athletes.” 

Every pocket and compartment in the pack is full of specific first aid materials, instruments, medications and taping supplies. Each AT organizes their pack, so they can easily find what they need quickly. “Even with my eyes closed,” says Jason, “I can find what I need.” This is important, as being efficient, effective and quick is essential when an athlete is injured. 

For him, the most used item is tape (zinc oxide, ultralight, lukotape, power flex and electrical tape) for taping and bracing joints, muscles and ligaments, as well as covering first aid bandages, “and the occasional repair of a cleat,” adds Jason.

What’s in Jason’s pack?

Other supplies include: Iodine and alcohol wipes, gauze, non-adherent pads, steri-strips, antibacterial ointments. Various scissors, penny cutters, nail clippers, tweezers for splinters, hangnails, bites and stings and a Shark, “which is a handy tool that aids in the easy removal of tape, jerseys and any necessary straps or belts in case of an emergency situation.” A small towel to control bleeds, and triangular bandages for splinting and to control bleeding.   Wipes and antibacterial hand sanitizer to avoid any spread of germs and containments.

  • Tissues for the occasional “snotty and bleeding nose.”
  • Tums for the “nervous and anxious stomach.”
  • A small note pad, pens, emergency action plan contacts and numbers to record any necessary information and vitals during an emergency.
  • Finger splints for when a small injury requires the additional support for stability and protection.
  • CPR mask, oralpharalgeal airway tool, personal protective nitrile gloves, a timer for accurate measure of vitals, blood pressure cuff and stethoscope.
  • Mustard packs for muscle cramps. “Why mustard you ask? Muscle cramps can be caused by a deficiency in acetylcholine, which is the neurotransmitter that stimulates the muscles to work,” explains Jason. “Mustard contains acetic acid which helps the body produce more acetylcholine.”
  • Canadian tattoos “to embrace our pride and culture.”
  • Replacement hair elastics.
  • Sunscreen, “as most of my travels are to tropical climates and I do try to achieve the golden tan while on tour!”

“I have travelled the world from one sporting event to another, from Khazastan to Dubai to Chile to Bahamas to South Korea and from ice arenas, aquatic centres, beach venues and field and turf complexes,” says Jason. “My fanny pack has had a hard life, although a very experienced one; it is a veteran like myself. It has never let me down.”

Contributing Athletic Therapist
Jason White


As a former competitive swimmer, Jason White experienced his share of injuries and treatment. His desire to help others overcome injuries and resume healthy lifestyles led him to becoming an Athletic Therapist and RMT, and is the focus of his current private practice.