Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Player Injury Puts Spotlight on Medical Preparations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Player Injury Puts Spotlight on Medical Preparations

Article excerpt

Byline: Alex Abrams, Times-Union sports writer

Stan Longenecker, team physician for the Episcopal High football team, was in the school's locker room during Friday's game against Paxon when he was summoned to the field to help an injured player.

Longenecker ran the 150 yards to McCormick Field, where Paxon football player Damien Renta lay unconscious. Renta had collapsed while running to his team's sideline.

Renta was taken to Shands Jacksonville hospital and has since shown signs of recovery from what is believed to be a minor head injury suffered during the first half of Friday's game. The official medical diagnosis was unavailable, but Renta has experienced no side effects other than a lack of sleep.

However, Renta's injury, coming less than two months after Lee High junior Anthony Hilton collapsed during a preseason practice and died less than an hour later, has focused attention on response times of on-field treatment and transport to the hospital.

The Florida High School Activities Association recommends, but doesn't require, a physician and ambulance be "present or readily available for each football game."

Jack Wafford, the FHSAA director of communications, said there are no plans to discuss the issue because such a mandate would be too costly for small schools and too impractical for small schools in rural areas. The cost per game to a school to have an ambulance and emergency medical personnel on site was not available.

Duval County requires an ambulance to be present at the start of every public high school football game. Episcopal, a private school, hires an ambulance service for its games -- as do other area private schools.

"The safety of the youngster is certainly the most important thing," Duval County athletic director Jon Fox said. …

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