Sun | May 31, 2020

Paul Wright | Act! Stop the talking, ISSA!

Published:Tuesday | September 24, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Gianni Golding of Charlie Smith High takes a shot ahead of advancing Jaheem Wilson (right) of Kingston High School during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at Breezy Castle on Saturday, September 14. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Another child has collapsed while playing for his school in an Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)-regulated football match. In a daCosta Cup match last Saturday, at Dinthill High School, the visiting Charlemont goalkeeper collapsed after making a routine catch during the game.

Reports suggest that the teenager failed to respond to first responders who rushed to his side, and despite frantic calls for a stretcher and an ambulance to carry the stricken player to a nearby hospital, none was forthcoming.

Luckily, the young footballer is reported to be recovering in hospital. But again, “What if? What if this young Jamaican schoolboy had suffered a cardiac emergency? Would “oops” be the acceptable response? When will those charged with the oversight of the safety of our children at school take their responsibility seriously?

Will it take the demise (God forbid!) of a child of a ‘tapanaris’ before someone, anyone, ensures that EVERY ISSA-controlled sporting event, á la football and track and field, the so-called revenue-friendly sports that ensure that ISSA does not lose money during these competitions, is properly staffed with the relevant trained first responders?


I don’t want to hear about lack of finances. The lives and welfare of our children who attend school is important. Just ask the family and friends of the injured or hospitalised child after taking part in school sports. Every football game under the auspices of ISSA must have present before the start of the game:

(a) Designated transport (ambulance as first choice) or, failing that, a vehicle that can transport a child lying down to the nearest tertiary institution that has been made aware BEFORE the start of the game of the possibility of medical/surgical emergencies during (and immediately after) the game.

(b) An adult with medical training, with a stethoscope, as a first responder to evaluate and render first aid (if indicated) to the injured child and arrange transport to a nearby tertiary institution.

To this end, physical education personnel at every school involved in ISSA-regulated sports MUST have training in cardiac resuscitation and be mandated to attend ALL games involving their school. There is a call for sixth-formers at these schools to be included in the training necessary for resuscitating the collapsed person, thus ensuring that the first responders have the necessary training and expertise necessary to be of use.

Ideally, an automated external defibrillator (AED) should also be present at these games. These AEDs are user friendly and, once properly attached to the unresponsive child, use voice prompts to guide the first responder.

The lightning strike during the Manning Cup game between Wolmer’s Boys and Jamaica College, and the daCosta Cup game between Charlemont and Dinthill, were pointed warning signs that should not be ignored. Both incidents had ‘good’ outcomes, meaning that no lives were lost, but the psychological damage to relatives, onlookers and first responders should not be pooh-poohed! As a great reggae artiste said, “Can’t say me neva dida warn you.” ACT! Stop the talking, ISSA!


In local football, the goal fest continues. Congratulations are in order for Portmore, who capitalised on the mauling that Harbour View received from Waterhouse in the previous week to gain their first goal and points! All may not yet be lost at Portmore. Molynes United continue on their merry unbeaten way.

The post-match interviews with the coach of this unbeaten team are fast becoming a must-listen for other coaches as he outlines in some detail strategies used by his club to identify weaknesses in rivals and how they prepare each week for their designated opponent.

This year’s Red Stripe Premier League is proving to be the best yet. The influx of ‘new’ coaches and easy movement of players in the transfer window seem to be the reason.

National coach Theodore Whitmore must be a happy man as he watches the local league unfold. We may soon reach the stage when our Reggae Boyz are manned completely by players we know and remember from their days in our local leagues.