What is the magic spray used by soccer/football medics?
June 18, 2006 12:57 PM   Subscribe

What exactly is the "magic spray" used by soccer/football medics?

I'm an American who is just really watching soccer for the first time. When a player gets injured, the medics have an aerosol spray they use on the injury that seems to help the pain. The ABC/ESPN2 commentators have referred to it as "the magic spray." I've spent over an hour on Google attempting to find out what the magic spray is and what it does, but, I just keep finding references to "magic spray" and "magic injury spray," but no details. So, here I am. Anyone able to enlighten a soccer-ignorant American? Thanks. :)
posted by jeversol to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total)
Before someone posts the full answer, it's worth noting that many years ago it was a 'magic sponge', before the spray became fashionable. I think the spray is largely cool water vapour or some such thing, with the result of slight numbing of pain.
posted by MetaMonkey at 1:02 PM on June 18, 2006

I think it cools the injured area. Sorta like a icy hot spray.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:03 PM on June 18, 2006

Of course the term magic spray is a bit of a joke since seemingly greatly injured players seem to recover quickly once they receive the magic spray treatment.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:04 PM on June 18, 2006

its something like this, it just numbs the area a bit. It actually does work, but not to the extent that the magic recoveries you see in footie games would imply. I used the cream version of it today on a sprain and it worked a treat.
posted by kev23f at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2006

It is a freeze type of spray similar to what is used on baseball players when they are hit by a pitch.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:45 PM on June 18, 2006

Either an aerosolized version of camphor or lidocaine, or a spray-on bandage.
posted by frogan at 3:21 PM on June 18, 2006

It's a spray similar to what kev23f linked, working its magic by a combination of cooling down the affected area and killing some of the immediate pain. You'll also see them pouring water from their water bottles on the minor injuries, which works in a similar way.

Think of the last time you stubbed a toe - it hurts SO bad at first but the pain subsides pretty quickly. Pour some cold water on the toe and the pain goes away even faster. It's like that, pretty much.
posted by gemmy at 3:23 PM on June 18, 2006

And of course when much of the pain is feigned, that part of it goes away instantly and leaves no trace.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:57 PM on June 18, 2006

I came across some funky ibuprofen spray at the LA marathon this year. It could be that - worked a treat too.
posted by TrashyRambo at 4:10 PM on June 18, 2006

I've no information on what it is, but if it's talked of as a freeze spray it's more likely to be the sister product to that linked by kev23f.
posted by edd at 4:42 PM on June 18, 2006

My guess is that it's a cooling spray that simply evaporates very fast (cools the skin down like sweating, only in fast-forward).

On preview: That thing edd linked to
posted by Zero Gravitas at 5:13 PM on June 18, 2006

Anyone noticed that they stopped using that spray during baseball games years ago? Anyone know why?
posted by any major dude at 5:14 PM on June 18, 2006

Topical anesthetics are a possibility; so is ethyl chloride spray, which works by actually cooling down the affected area. You can google "spray and stretch" to learn more about how ethyl chloride is used to help relieve painful "trigger point" pain.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:36 PM on June 18, 2006

Benzocaine would be my bet.
posted by m@ at 7:17 PM on June 18, 2006

Hmm...it appears no one really knows, authoritatively.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:53 PM on June 18, 2006

I asked my soccer mad boyfriend (he plays and coaches and watches and reads about soccer) and he's not sure either. He thinks it's cooling spray as linked above. I know some sports ban local anaesthetic (if it hurts that much you shouldn't keep playing) and he says soccer tried to ban it at one stage, but isn't sure if it stuck. I really thought he'd know, so it's obviously not widespread knowledge in the soccer community.
posted by shelleycat at 8:55 PM on June 18, 2006

I would bet it's something very, very similar to this PremierSoccer.com medical spray.
posted by gemmy at 9:13 PM on June 18, 2006

Slight piggyback - anyone know how effective the spray is in typical usage on a football pitch? I can't imagine it can do much more than provide instant and very temporary relief, unlike, say a cream, which I would guess last longer.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:24 PM on June 18, 2006

MetaMonkey - the cream is similar to the spray in that it has an immediate effect, but you're right in saying that the creams effect lasts longer.

Word to the wise - make sure you wash your hands after using the cream. Or at least dont take a leak straight after applying the cream: the tingling sensastion in your nether regions is not the slightest bit pleasant...
posted by kev23f at 3:55 AM on June 19, 2006

A group of us were wondering about this too, glad someone already asked it. Slate covered our question: Does the World Cup Have a Lingua Franca? or, as we put it, "How do you say 'That fecking cocksocker takes one more dive and I'm tackling him spikes out.' in every language spoken by World Cup players?"
posted by togdon at 9:28 AM on June 19, 2006

From Slate's Explainer.
posted by oddman at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2006

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