Rugby player left in agony on pitch waiting for treatment

Will Nicholson
Will Nicholson
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A 23-year-old rugby player was left lying on a pitch in agony for over an hour before an emergency medic arrived.

Will Nicholson broke two bones in his right leg while playing for Heath RUFC against the Old Brodleians.

The match was abandoned around 4.10 pm last Saturday and shortly afterwards the first 999 call was made.

A rapid responder arrived around 5.15 pm and the ambulance itself did not arrive until 5.45 pm and the casualty was then taken to hospital.

Heath chairman Paul Sutcliffe said he was among people waiting at Will’s side including the player’s parents and girlfriend. He has since had an operation and is now recovering at his Halifax home.

Mr Sutcliffe said the emergency operator said it would take up to two-and-a-half hours for an ambulance to arrive because it wasn’t a critical incident but to call back if the situation worsened.

He believes four or five calls were made and each time the same information, name, address, etc, had to be relayed even though it was logged the first time.

“It took five or 10 minutes to get talking and that was annoying. We rang back because Will was getting worse,” said Mr Sutcliffe.

He was given painkillers by physios at the match but they couldn’t move him due to his injuries.

“Will was getting cold and we were keeping him conscious and the delay is not acceptable.

“They said it was non-critical but the lad was getting critical. He was struggling and his family was getting frantic.”

Mr Sutcliffe has since spoken to Will. “He remembers his dad phoning and nothing after that.”

Both clubs’ are expected to write to the ambulance service over the incident.

Brods’ chairman Richard Turner said the delay was regrettable.

A spokesman for The West Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it was sorry to hear of concerns. “We would like to reasure the public our utmost priority is providing a responsive, high-quality ambulance service. We are keen to speak to the patient or his family and would urge them to get in touch with our Patient Relations team so we can discuss any concerns they may have and look into the matter fully.”