RFL launch investigation after rugby league star left waiting hours for treatment at game in Sheffield

The Rugby Football League has launched an investigation after a rugby league player was left waiting in agony for three hours for an ambulance that never arrived at a game in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 19:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:48 pm
Will Hope, pictured in action for Sheffield Eagles in 2014. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Swinton Lions’ star Will Hope, 25, suffered a broken leg, dislocated ankle and torn ligaments in the first tackle of Sunday's Betfred Championship match against Sheffield at the Olympic Legacy Park.

The Ireland international revealed on Twitter that, after the ambulance failed to arrive, he was carried by team-mates on to the team coach which took him from Sheffield to a hospital in Salford, where he underwent an ankle reconstruction.

Will Hope, pictured in action for Sheffield Eagles in 2014. Picture: Dean Woolley.

In a statement, the governing body said: "The RFL was contacted by Swinton on Monday regarding the circumstances surrounding Will Hope's injury and has noted the player's comments on social media.

"Firstly, we send him our sympathy for suffering such an injury in the first match of the season and wish him all the best in his recovery.

"We have contacted Sheffield Eagles for an explanation of the circumstances as they have been reported.

"While the delay before the arrival of an ambulance is beyond the control of the club, we have strict medical standards for all fixtures relating to personnel and facilities, with at least one doctor required to be present, and to be supported by the medical staff of each team."

Jackie Cole, divisional commander (South Yorkshire) at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, apologised for the incident.

She said: “We are very sorry for the distress caused by our delayed response to this incident..

"The call was received during an extremely busy period on Sunday and we were doing our best to respond as quickly as possible to all patients who needed our assistance.

"We would be happy to look into the specific details of this incident for the patient via our patient relations team."

A St John Ambulance team was also present at Sunday's match.

In a statement, it said: "St John Ambulance were contracted to provide first aid cover for the crowd at this event. This arrangement did not include the provision of an ambulance or cover for injuries occurring to the players.

"Following one of the players sustaining an injury our first aiders worked with the club medical staff present to provide treatment. The patient was conveyed to a local hospital by the club. This was not a decision taken by St John Ambulance. We wish Will a speedy recovery.”