APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – Three Apex Friendship High School junior varsity football players were injured in a Thursday night game and carried off on stretchers, and the time it took EMS to respond is raising questions among parents.
Two players were injured during one play in the second quarter, a witness told WNCN. The players were responsive following the collision.
The first two were injured in what the school principal Matt Wight called a freak play when they ran into one another. The third was blindsided on a punt return.
Wight said all three were treated by the trainer on field and taken to the hospital.
“We called 911 and they got here as soon as they could,” Wight said.
But “as soon as they could” wasn’t fast enough for some parents, who told WNCN they were concerned that it took Wake County EMS 20 minutes to respond.
“You worry about the kids at a young age getting hurt,” said Rafael Rodriguez.
And parent Claire Cantwell, asked about emergency vehicles, said, “Aren’t they usually right there present?”
Wight said there was no ambulance at that game. According to Wake County EMS, no ambulance is required to be at junior varsity or varsity football games.
WNCN asked Jeff Hammerstein, chief of community outreach for Wake County EMS, if ambulances should be required at football games.
“I certainly understand that notion. I completely understand it,” Hammerstein said. “At every football game there’s going to be an athletic trainer, there’s going to be some type of medical go to person who can begin the process of those first interventional moments while we’re on the way.”
Wight, asked about the issue, said, “Whenever you have anybody laying on the ground the minutes seem to stretch. we called 911 right away and my understanding was there were a couple of those units that were on calls, so they got here as soon as they could.”
Hammerstein said he couldn’t address exactly what happened at Apex Friendship.
“We can’t discuss any particular instance because that’s a privacy violation,” Hammerstein said.
“I understand the concern with response time and that type of thing but again the entire protocol is set up that we’re immediately there for immediately life-threatening situations.”