George Forbes, the competition’s director for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), is defending his organization over claims from members of the public that there was no ambulance at the Manning Cup football match between St George’s College and Excelsior High School at Stadium East in Kingston, Wednesday, where 18-year-old Dominic James collapsed and subsequently died.
James, the captain of St George’s College collapsed early in the game and was attended to by three doctors who were on site.
However, there was no stretcher available neither was there an ambulance. It was James’ father who rushed him to the Medical Associates Hospital where the outstanding midfield player was pronounced dead.
Forbes makes it clear that while improvements need to be made to what is available to medical personnel at matches, those crying shame that there was no ambulance at the ground, are misguided.
“We have in excess of 50 matches per day, I don’t think Jamaica as a country has 50 ambulances,” he explained.
“So people who are getting very emotive, should know in this particular case, two doctors from either team was there, a nurse from Excelsior was there, and a doctor was in the house, so there were three doctors. I think that was adequate.”
He did concede, however, that the absence of a stretcher was a problem that needed to be addressed.
James had to be lifted by several persons and taken to a pick-up in which he was taken to hospital. Forbes, said that there is need to ensure that all schools equip themselves with a stretcher for such occurrences.
“The absence of a stretcher came to the fore because of the incident. A stretcher is not very difficult to acquire and not expensive, so we will probably need to put it in our rules that for every sport, every school must have a stretcher and that would probably alleviate the problem somewhat.”
Forbes said that under ISSA rules each school was supposed to have medical personnel on the bench. “We will now have to emphasize that we have special places on the bench for these persons,” he said.
He explained that during the first round of competition, each school was responsible for providing its own medical personnel. Once the second round begins, however, ISSA provides major support in the form of an ambulance and EMS.