Rapid medical attention a priority for student athletes

John Baladi, Student contributor

It’s fourth down. The Bruin Special Teams Unit came on to the field for a routine punt. Midway through the third quarter, deep in their own territory against the Pelahatchie Chiefs, the Bruins had no other choice. The snap was right between the numbers, the ball was off, and chaos followed.

The Bruin Punt Coverage team did everything they could to prevent a big return. Players ran down the field trying to find blockers and the runner to bring him down. The Chiefs had other plans, and made a big return down to the 15 yard line. On the way, one blocker threw an illegal blind side block on senior, Andrew Sanli.

“I remember just seeing this one guy graze past me, and run toward Andrew. I didn’t know what had happened from there till after the play,” Josh Briscoe stated.

Sanli’s tibia was broken. Thinking it was just a twisted ankle, or a concussion, Briscoe picked up Sanli, and tried to help him off the field. He wouldn’t make it there.

They set Sanli back on the turf, and waited. An Excruciating 15 minutes went by. He was then picked up by an ambulance, and taken to St. Dominic’s hospital. This was not an isolated incident, however. Just two years earlier, a similar scenario was seen on our own Bill Raphael Field, when a St. Joe Greenville linebacker waited 30 minutes for an ambulance to pick him up.

Five seasons ago, St. Joe Alumni Reed Collins also went down at Lake High School with a neck injury, and again, waited near 45 minutes for an ambulance. Something must be done.

There are enough ambulances in the state to cover every single football game and then some, so why don’t they? Why must players be put in potentially life or death scenarios while waiting for one to show up?
Had these players been more unlucky, any action taken would’ve been too late. We need action to protect our student athletes from these possible life threatening injuries.

When Reed Collins went down in Lake, Mississippi, the word back at home was that this could be an injury that could cause chronic issues. Collins and the Saint Joe Community were lucky that it wasn’t, but had it been, why was he forced to wait 45 minutes before he could get any help?

Athletic trainers can only do so much. While they may be able to address a simple leg injury, or cramps, even broken bones, in the case of a possible broken neck, a player landing on their head, or any other emergency on the field, they will need medically trained people there ready to take action for the benefit of injured players.

These are young people with bright futures. Football is the only game where you get knocked down every single play and make the conscious choice to get back up. Many players take that mentality toward life as well. They shouldn’t have to risk that life being cut short, due to an ambulance not being there to help in their darkest hour.