St. Michael player's injury raises questions about ambulance presence at HS football games

(IMG: WPMI) Questions raised about placement of ambulances at Baldwin County football games

The injury of a St. Michael Catholic High School football player is raising questions about the presence of ambulances at local games.

The St. Michael Catholic School Cardinals were playing in their first ever game on Friday, September 7, at Fairhope Municipal Field when the player was hurt.

There was no ambulance present when the player suffered a terrifying injury that left him unconscious on the field for several minutes.

Medstar EMS said an ambulance responded to the game about 6 minutes later. The teen was then taken off the field on a stretcher and flown to Sacred Heart Hospital.

But some people are wondering why they weren't already in place to help.

Terri Moak's son plays linebacker for the Cardinals. She was stunned that no ambulance was on site.

"My son said (the player) was in and out of consciousness. We were always under the impression that there was an ambulance at varsity football games," said Moak. "My son played for Spanish Fort when he was a freshman, and they always have an ambulance there."

John Falck's grandson also plays for the Cardinals. He said team doctors and trainers jumped into action to help the player.

"They were out there. They took great care of him. It took a little while to get the ambulance here," Falck said.

Medstar EMS told NBC 15 that they had an ambulance on the way, but it wasn't reserved well ahead of time, per their protocol.

According to Michael Sandell, Senior Operations Manager at Medstar EMS, they had a total of 6 ambulances designated for football games on that day.

However, St. Michael was not one of the schools on the list.

Sandell said Medstar ambulances are usually reserved for events, like a football game, at least a day in advance.

But Sandell said St. Michael Catholic High School requested an ambulance just prior to kickoff.

"We sent one over as quickly as we could considering the normal 911 call volume. Unfortunately, we had to send one of the on-duty trucks. We just didn't have enough time to put together a dedicated ambulance to send to the event," Sandell said.

Sandell said he believes the school was unfamiliar with Medstar EMS guidelines and protocol for reserving a dedicated ambulance.

According to Sandell, it's rare that schools don't request ambulances for home games.

There was a designated ambulance at the St. Michael football game Thursday night.

NBC 15 learned that the player had no permanent injury.

According to Sandell, St. Michael and Medstar EMS are now on the same page regarding the protocol to reserve ambulances.