Rugby league star left waiting three hours for ambulance in Sheffield before team-mates become makeshift paramedics

A rugby league player who broke his leg during a game in Sheffield waited more than three hours in vain for an ambulance before his teammates carried him on a stretcher back to the team coach.

By Sam Cooper
Tuesday, 05 February, 2019, 15:54

Swinton Lions player Will Hope suffered the injury just 25 seconds into his team’s 64-10 defeat at Sheffield Eagles in the Betfred Championship on Sunday.

But he said he was left to wait on a stretcher in a corridor at the Olympic Legacy Park after being told the call ‘was not a priority’.

Sheffield Eagles in action against Swinton Lions. Picture: Andrew Roe.

Will said he suffered a dislocated ankle, torn ligaments and a broken leg in the incident and having waited three hours without an ambulance, his team-mates carried him on a stretcher back onto the team coach and he attended Salford Royal Hospital.

The Irish international, who has had an operation on Monday, said: “I did it in the first tackle of the game on Sunday and had to lie on a stretcher in the changing rooms corridor for three hours waiting for an ambulance that did not come.

“I ended up having team-mates carry me on the stretcher to our team coach, to then take me to Salford Royal Hospital from Sheffield and carry me in.

“That is an absolute disgrace to be treated like that, with my foot facing the wrong way for up to five hours because ‘it wasn't a priority’ is disgusting and I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy.”

Will, who previously played for the Eagles, also called for the Rugby Football League, the sport's governing body, to look into the incident so it ‘did not happen again’.

He added: “I cannot describe the agony I was in, and the anger I still have about the whole situation.

“If it wasn’t for everyone at Swinton Lions, I’d probably still be laying on that stretcher in the corridor waiting for an ambulance.

“The whole of Swinton Lions and Sheffield Eagles have been fantastic, I can't thank them enough. As well as everyone at Salford Royal Hospital – they’ve been brilliant."

Jackie Cole, divisional commander (South Yorkshire) at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, 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 who can be contacted on 0345 122 0535.”

In a statement the RFL said: “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.”