In a disturbing revelation, a regional playoff game between two of Southern California’s top boys basketball teams witnessed a scary knee injury to the biggest star in the game, only for coaches and onlookers to realize that there was no trainer on site to treat the player.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Fairfax’s Southern California Regional Open Division semifinal victory against Etiwanda came at a steep price when star small forward Donald Gipson went down with a knee injury in the first quarter. The 6-foot-3, 190 pounder collapsed to the court, where he was eventually tended to by Fairfax coach Harvey Kitani and Fairfax athletic director Judi Edwards. Both have first aid training, but neither is an athletic trainer.
There was not a doctor in the crowd to take a look at Gipson’s injury, either, so he spent the remainder of the game on the bench with ice on his knee until he could be transported to a local hospital for further examination after the final whistle.
Initial concerns will focus on Gipson’s own well-being. The junior is a three-star recruit who is widely considered one of California’s brighter junior prospects. Yet the larger questions, and more troubling revelations, should focus on why there was no athletic trainer on site in the first place. As the Times notes, most Los Angeles public schools do not have trainers. That means when they host athletic events there is no emergency medical staff on site.
Sure, it’s a budgetary decision that can save money in a financially strapped urban public district, but at what cost? Should any district be allowed to host playoff games, or any athletic contests, without requisite medical personnel on hand?
It’s a question worth asking. Now, rather than later.