McGill to review policy following injury to Bishop's football player
Published Friday, October 4, 2013 10:34PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 5, 2013 6:28PM EDT
McGill University says that it will review its policy regarding having ambulances on standby at sports games after a football player was injured in a harrowing incident at Percival Molson Stadium Friday night.
Freshman Jonathan Fortin, who plays defensive back for the Bishop's Gaiters, went to make a tackle and never got back up, said head coach Kevin Mackey.
Fortin lay motionless on the field for nearly 30 minutes.
An ambulance took 22 minutes to arrive on the field from the time 911 was called, despite the stadium being minutes away from both the Royal Victoria and Montreal General hospitals.
Fortin sustained a neck injury and was released from hospital Saturday. A CT scan revealed no bone damage or breaks.
No one from the Urgences Santé ambulance service would comment on this particular incident Saturday, nor would they say what is considered to be an acceptable wait time for a neck injury.
CTV Montreal reporter Annie DeMelt spoke to some ambulance workers off-camera, who told her that for 90 per cent of all injuries, they're supposed to be on the scene within nine minutes.
Fortin’s father was by his side on the field as he received medical attention on the field Friday. Players from both teams joined together on one knee for an impromptu solemn gathering following the accident.
Norman Marshall, a football analyst for the McGill Athletics department, has covered the team for 17 years. He said he has never felt the kind of anxiety he felt Friday night.
“Everybody was silent, he said. “You could hear a pin drop.”
It is not mandatory at the university level to have an ambulance on standby at games, but it can cost up to $1,200 to have them there depending on how long the event is, said Drew Love, executive director of McGill Athletics.
Love said he believes 22 minutes is a long time to wait for an ambulance, but he also pointed out that sports injuries aren’t always as serious as they may look to fans watching from the stands.
“The (response) time was long, and we would have liked it to be shorter, but I don’t think we were in a life threatening situation either,” he said.
Love said McGill’s medical staff will likely be contacting Urgences Santé to understand why the ambulance showed up when it did. He said over the next week or two, he and others will review the incident and determine if their policy should be updated.
For Marshall the analyst, having an ambulance on site may be costly, but having more emergency personnel on site could prove to be an invaluable expense, if it can prevent serious injury and even death.
“The young man was on the ground for 30 minutes, he said. “We're not talking about a sprained knee or an ACL tear, we're talking about the man's head or his spine.”