Ambulance denied field access to injured player

November 16, 2010 4:50:46 PM PST
A high school principal in San Jose is under fire for refusing to let an ambulance drive onto a football field to help an injured player. Fourteen-year-old Keanu Gallardo's mother is waiting for an apology after her son suffered a concussion during a game at Del Mar High School on Oct. 29.

It is not known if the district has taken any action against the principal, or if it plans to. Tuesday morning a district spokesperson said they had no comment whatsoever because the situation is "undergoing an investigation."

Even as this teen recuperates, the incident has really infuriated people who cannot fathom choosing the field over a child's health.

"The child's health needs to come first and that's most important, and to actually hear this coming from you instead of coming from the school is actually disturbing, too," said parent Debbie Musquez.

School officials at Del Mar High aren't talking about the situation, so Musquez is one of many surprised parents concerned after learning from ABC7 News that the principal blocked access to an ambulance after a recent football field accident.

"It makes me very upset. It makes me kind of concerned about my child's safety," said parent Meghan Doe.

Gallardo had suffered a concussion during Del Mar's JV football game on Oct. 29. But after 911 was called, he had to lay and wait for emergency workers to haul a gurney 75 yards downfield.

Del Mar's principal, Liz Seabury, says she was following district orders, banning motorized vehicles on the school's recently remodeled field.

"I think it's a failure to apply common sense across the board," said Campbell Union High School District board member Matthew Dean.

Dean feels the blame falls three ways: 1) The principal should have made a different decision, 2) The emergency responders could have overridden her, and 3) He's looking at the district.

"What kind of environment have we created such that the principal does or doesn't feel comfortable overriding a rule," said Dean.

A district spokesperson earlier blamed the new principal, saying she misunderstood because the district never meant block emergency vehicles. But there was one dissenting opinion from a parent whose son plays football and was at the game that night.

"I think that they don't let any ambulance go on any field at any high school games, or at any game period. I don't think that she did anything wrong. I work in an emergency room and I don't think it delayed his care at all," said parent Denise Leyer.

While it's not clear whether the delay had any impact on the student's health, medical experts say every second counts when a player has a head injury. The district superintendent has since responded with an apology to the injured player's mother and has also sent out a memo to staff reminding them to allow access to emergency vehicles.


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