Confusion surrounds public safety’s response time to men’s intramural soccer head injury

After Trey Wagner ’21 suffered a head injury and Myles Harris ’19 sustained a back injury in a men’s intramural soccer game, two calls to Public Safety were made from Newlins Road Field on Wednesday.

Wagner and his teammates said that they were upset by how long it took for a driver to reach Newlins and transport Wagner to receive medical attention.

In a corner play, the ball came up behind Wagner and as he went up “blindly” to head the ball, he collided heads with a player on the opposing team, Wagner said.

“He hit me like right below my cheekbone, kind of near my temple and I just went down. The immediate pain was in my cheek, not my head, but then when I stood up I knew something was wrong,” Wagner said.

After Wagner sustained the head injury, Carolyn Hill, Coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports, called Lafayette College Public Safety to transport Wagner from Newlins Road Field to Bailey Health Center. Although Public Safety was called, Wagner and other members of the intramural team were concerned by the amount of time it took until a student transport driver for Public Safety ultimately arrived.

Captain Ryan Peslis ’19 claims that Public Safety took approximately 45 minutes to arrive at Newlins.

“[The injury] happened with like a minute left in the first half and they’re not full-length halves, they’re probably 12 to 15 minute halves, so she called at halftime of the first game. Public Safety ended up not coming until the second half start of our second game, and we had about 10 to 15 minutes in between games,” Peslis said.

According to Jeff Troxell, Director of Public Safety, the student driver had accidentally gone to Metzgar Fields instead of the Newlins Road Field, which is located in between the college and Metzgar, before he was redirected. According to Peslis, by the time the student driver from Public Safety arrived, members of the team were considering ordering an Uber to transport Wagner.

While these student drivers do undergo training and are shown “the routes,” this particular student driver was new to the job, according to Public Safety. Troxell did not release the driver’s identity.

Wagner was also surprised by how little assistance he received from the student driver. According to Wagner, after arriving at Bailey and learning of the hour-and-a-half wait to be seen, he chose to go to the Easton Hospital Emergency Room and the same student driver transported him.

“He basically just dropped me off and said, ‘Feel better,’ and drove away. I didn’t know where I was, I had never been there before and I was alone,” Wagner said.

After arriving at Easton Hospital, Wagner was told there would be another long wait before he could be seen by a professional. Wagner’s three teammates arrived soon after and again transported him, this time to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was ultimately diagnosed with a concussion.

Easton Hospital’s Media and Press phone line did not answer several calls from The Lafayette requesting comment on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

“In hindsight, if we knew what was going to happen, somebody should’ve accompanied him when he went with the student driver,” said Alex Maillet ’20.

Minutes after Wagner had originally been picked up from Newlins, another member of the intramural team suffered an injury. Myles Harris ’19 sustained a back injury that made him unable to stand. According to Peslis, 911 was called and a public safety officer arrived alongside an ambulance.

“I completely understand that Myles’ injury warranted everything that came and I don’t want to sound selfish, but I would’ve liked to see some sort of urgency [with my injury],” Wagner said.

While members of the intramural team claim that the Public Safety student driver took around 45 minutes to arrive, public safety records indicate the transport timespan was around 30 minutes.

“As a courtesy, based on availability at the time, we sent our transportation driver out there… A combination of things happened there—we were were busy with multiple calls, a new driver got turned around from Metzgar to Newlins, but it was actually 30 minutes until we got there,” Troxell said.

Despite these discrepancies, the men’s intramural soccer team still voiced concerns.

“In general, it’s the safety of Lafayette students [that’s at stake]. If we have a serious injury of a serious anything, do we have to call 911 to get the proper attention needed? I think that’s the biggest point of this,” Peslis said.

The concussion Wagner sustained Wednesday marks his eighth concussion, which disables him from participating in contact sports for the time being. According to Hill, head injuries in intramural sports games are not very common.

“In [the 2017-2018 school year], we documented three head and neck injuries, including concussions, during intramural sports and this year we have one documented case,” Hill wrote in an email.

About Morgan Sturm

Morgan Sturm '19 is the Managing Editor for The Lafayette. She is a Policy Studies major and Spanish minor.

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