Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Safety first: On having medical/emergency services on site for sporting events

Safety first
by rick olivares

In football, if under pressure from an attack, a defender must send the ball out of play to allow teammates to get back down on defense. Safety first, as it is said. Now literally, I wish for it also off the pitch. 

Last Wednesday, during a UAAP Juniors football match, Ateneo keeper JP Oracion hit the post while attempting a save. He was knocked unconscious causing some anxious moments at the pitch. When he woke up, he couldn’t remember where he was or what was going on. The sad thing is, the parents of the player arrived ahead of the ambulance.

During the playoff for the second seed of the UAAP Seniors Tournament last Sunday, there was still no ambulance. And UP goalkeeper Ace Villanueva also hit the post putting him in the dirt for a good three minutes. Villanueva turned up okay but that had the tournament officials worried.

I think that safety and medical attention is something we all take for granted. I still remember when PBA player Eugene Tejada was paralyzed after Mick Pennisi fell on top of him during a rebound scramble. How long did it take for an ambulance or medics to arrive on the scene? I was in the audience when that happened and was horrified along with everyone else.

Sometimes last season during a UFL Division Two match at the University of Makati, Pachanga defender Jalsor Soriano banged heads with an opposing player. Soriano suffered a deep cut on the back of his head and bled profusely. It took a while also for an ambulance to arrive on the scene to take him to nearby St. Luke’s.

In the Ateneo Football League that I co-run with my friend Rely San Agustin, we really made it a point to have medics on site. It brings up the cost but it’s a small price to pay for safety and health. Can we improve it? Of course. In fact, that is something I will take up with our players during our next general assembly.

It isn’t only the possibility of injury during athletic events one should worry about but also the venue conditions. A goalkeeper for one club got injured because there was some broken glass in the area of the goal. Imagine that! I actually suffered a similar injury like that during a game in college when I fell to the ground during a tackle and a shard of glass punctured the skin near my wrist. I had to be carried off all bloody and to this day I still carry the scar of that wound.

My point is, emergency medical services should be mandatory for sports leagues. Why wait for another Tejada incident before we do something about it? As for me, I am so happy that Eugene Tejada is now all right.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good point. In the PBA, the ambulance leaves the moment the end game buzzer ends. This should not be. I have seen a spectator had a hear attack during a game, good thing it was during the middle of the game where medical personnel were available. What if it was after a game? I hope in all sporting events, medical personnel will be available and be contracted to stay for more than 30 minutes after the game ensuring team members health and spectators' safety.