Why won’t you see paramedics at Springfield High School football games?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – High school football kicks off Friday!

As the schools prepare to take on their rivals, one team will not be on the field this year. Emergency medical services and ambulances will not be at Friday night football games. While this decision was not made easily by school and medical leaders, it was determined that there was a greater need for services in the community than on the court.

“The decision that was made not to provide ambulances on site was not an easy decision,” said Mercy Regional Sports Medicine Administrator Jim Raynor. “It was a decision based on need. What is happening is that throughout the city of Springfield, the demand and calls that are required of our EMS teams from both health systems have increased dramatically.”

Emergency medical services professionals and Springfield Public Schools administrators developed a plan to keep student-athletes and the community safe.

“All Springfield Public Schools, including Catholic, have certified athletic trainers licensed in the state of Missouri who are specifically trained in handling health care emergencies for student athletes,” Raynor said.

The reason for this decision is that the need for EMS in the community has increased. More calls are coming in requiring ambulance services. Instead of having an ambulance parked near the field, they are strategically located throughout the community to respond promptly.

“We will have a dedicated ambulance scheduled,” Springfield Public Schools Director of Athletics and Activities Joshua Scott said. “There will be close, the response time will be fast. So we’re very confident with the plan we have going forward.”

The fact that the ambulance is not on site does not mean that medical professionals will not be present to respond to an incident or injury. Certified athletic trainers work with these athletes every day and are prepared to handle an emergency until an ambulance arrives.

“Our athletic trainers with Mercy Sports Med are trained, equipped and licensed to care for our children,” said Scott. “They are with our children every day. In practice, they are at every game, so we are not reducing the immediate and on-field care of our student-athletes.

“Families in Springfield need to know that their sons, their daughters, in all sports, have a health professional who advocates for their health in athletic competition,” Raynor said. “They are there every day, every day after school. And those are the people behind the scenes who really care and stand up for their son and daughter.”

First responders say not a single player was taken to the hospital by ambulance last year.

“Do we love not having EMS on site? No, we would like to have as many ambulances and medical personnel as we can, but right now we feel very confident with Our Mercy’s athletic trainers’ ability to assess sports injuries and care for our children,” said Scott.

This is not a new concept. Ambulances have not been present at junior varsity, freshman or middle school games in recent years.

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