WATCH ABOVE: A local minor football team is taking issue with the way an injury was handled on a city field Saturday night. As Jessica Kent reports, they now want the city to reconsider its policy.
EDMONTON – A local midget football team believes the City of Edmonton should reconsider its policy that prohibits vehicles from driving on the turf at city-run sports fields. The push comes after an ambulance was blocked from driving onto the turf at Clarke Field when one of the Parkland Predators players was injured during a game on Saturday.
Linebacker Troy Potter was running to take out a blocker when the injury happened.
“I dropped my head and pretty much just took the hit right to the top of my head and my neck went back,” he explained Sunday.
The 15-year-old took a knee to signal he was hurt and the coaching staff came to his aid.
“When I went out he told me his neck was hurting so at that point I have to treat it as a possible neck injury. I have to assume worst-case scenario,” said Brad Dayman, the team’s volunteer development coach and trainer.
Beyond stabilizing the player, Dayman says he’s not certified to diagnose injuries or move a player with a suspected neck or spine injury, so an ambulance was called.
“We put him on his back as gently as we could and stabilized the head and held him in that position until the ambulance got there,” he explained.
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The ambulance arrived within 10 minutes, but Dayman says it was stopped when it started to drive onto the field. The paramedics were then told to bring their equipment to Potter and carry the teen off the field.
“Got through the gate right away, got about 10-feet onto the field and somebody, who I think was the manager at Clarke Park that night, actually physically stepped in front of the ambulance and told them they couldn’t drive on the field.”
According to the City of Edmonton, its policy states that vehicles are not allowed on the turf unless it has specialized turf tires. This policy applies to all vehicles, including emergency vehicles.
FC Edmonton General Manager Rod Proudfoot, whose team also uses Clarke Field, says it’s a hard and fast rule.
“We have been told by the city quite definitively that no vehicles of any nature are allowed access out on Clarke Field. It damages the turf. So that rule applies for us, it applies for everyone who is a user,” said Proudfoot. “It’s in our lease.”
Despite the hard and fast policy, the Parkland Predators are looking for change. They say when it comes down to someone’s well-being a field shouldn’t stand in the way.
“I think that definitely needs to be reevaluated. In the case of injuries like a neck or any back injury … the human life has to take precedence over any field,” said Dayman. “The ambulance, 100 per cent, when they need to get somewhere they need to get there as fast as they can without being interrupted.”
“It kind of bothered me because if someone was really hurt and something actually really bad happened and they wouldn’t allow an ambulance on the field to get them … that could really hurt them,” Potter added.
A spokesperson with the City of Edmonton said they’ve never been asked to reconsider the policy, but would be willing to listen to any concerns or filed complaints.
Potter was taken to the University of Alberta hospital to be checked out. While he was released, Potter still needs clearance from his doctor and to go through the team’s concussion protocol before he’s allowed back on the field.
With files from Jessica Kent, Global News.