The unavailability of an on-site medical team for national cricket squad matches or training sessions has again come to the fore after batsman Brandon King was hit in the ribcage area by a delivery on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old King was on 103 when he was forced to retire hurt after being struck by a lifting delivery from left-arm pacer Sheldon Cotterell during the Jamaica Franchise trial match between Paul Palmer’s XI and John Campbell’s XI at Sabina Park.
There was no medical team on hand to assess the batsman’s injury, but fortunately for him, it appeared no bone was broken.
King, a former West Indies youth batsman, received treatment from physical trainer David Bernard, and though he did not return to bat, he was able enough to field when the opposing team batted the following day.
Courtney Francis, the chief executive officer of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), said that though the local board would rest easier having trained medical personnel present, it is not economically feasible at this time.
“Based on the available resources, to employ a medical team and have a doctor on spot we cannot afford it because of the constraints we have. While that would be ideal, at this time, it is just not viable,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.
“It is something that any professional sport would want to have on hand because you don’t know when something might happen. But it is (due to) the financial constraint why it is not here,” Francis continued.
In January 2014, the Observer witnessed national batsman Danza Hyatt suffering a broken nose during a squad match at Sabina Park when a short ball from pacer Andre Russell squeezed between the peak of the batsman’s helmet and the protective grill.
The ball crashed into the bridge of Hyatt’s nose, causing instant bleeding, before he was taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies by a teammate.
Just as he told the Observer on that occasion, Francis said noted medical officer Dr Akshai Mansingh is “on call”.
“On spot we have medical items and Mr Bernard, the fitness trainer, would be the one to tend to those situations.
“We have Dr Mansingh on call and we have access to his office 24/7. So if anything should ever go awry to the point of seriousness we just transport the player to his office to receive all the medical attention.
“That’s how it has been… we do not have unlimited resources. In the first-class games though, you will see the ambulance and the doctor here on spot,” the JCA chief executive officer explained.
“The hit (King sustained) was below the head and wasn’t considered to be very dangerous. We are very fortunate that we have not sustained any major injury as it relates to our trial matches, so we are keeping fingers crossed,” Francis added.
The ongoing trial matches are being staged to aid selectors in choosing the squad for the second edition of the Professional Cricket League, scheduled to begin on November 6.