An ambulance on standby is a must for all sports

Ajay Jaiswal (19) of Thane's Dnyanasadhana College, was playing at the CKT College Ground in Panvel, for a Mumbai University inter-collegiate football match against SK College, Nerul. There was no stretcher initially to help the defender, who, 10 minutes into the game, broke his shin following a harsh tackle from an opposition forward.

Organisers first brought a ladder on which they tried to place Ajay to take him out of the ground. When this failed, they brought in a school bench. Finally, they got an autorickshaw onto the ground, but Ajay was immobile and wailing in pain all this while. Finally, he was taken to hospital, where it was found he had two fractures.

It is shocking that grounds hosting matches do not have an ambulance on standby at least, for injuries. The University must station an ambulance at the venues matches are being played. If that is too much to ask, one has to ensure that an ambulance is on call. Injuries are very common in all sport so stretchers are an absolute must. An official at the ground was quoted saying that there was a tie-up with a nearby hospital, so injured players could be rushed to the hospital. Yet, it is how one could get them to hospital that is vital. One needs to ensure that the entire chain is well-oiled and smooth. An injured player must have access to first aid. Then, he must be stretchered and put in an ambulance and taken to hospital if need be.

This paper has cited numerous instances when grounds have been woefully ill-equipped for treating injured players. This is true of many school and college level matches. The paper has also reported about a lack of changing rooms at certain venues and basics like water.

Young players suffer in sub-standard conditions which is unacceptable, especially with India’s Olympic aspirations of becoming a multi-sport powerhouse. One cannot fathom why this casual attitude continues with reference to safety and timely aid. Organisers need to step on it, and ensure that grassroots sport is well nurtured because only from there come your champions of tomorrow.

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