Basehor-Linwood’s Schierbaum OK after long wait for ambulance
Basehor-Linwood High School junior Jacob Schierbaum was back in school Monday after suffering a neck injury that caused a delay of nearly an hour in Friday's football game at Tonganoxie. Three minutes after halftime, Schierbaum made a tackle after a two-yard gain and didn't get up.
"I dropped my head when I made that tackle," said Schierbaum, who strained ligaments in his neck. "It's something that the coaches tell us not to do and now I know why."
When the trainers rushed out to tend to Schierbaum he had full use of his extremities, but also had a sharp, stabbing pain in the back of his neck.
He had suffered a possible concussion a week earlier and the trainers thought it was best not to move him Friday. There were a number of police officers at the game providing security and they radioed for an ambulance. It took more than a half hour for an ambulance to arrive, with one finally coming from Leavenworth, nearly 20 miles away.
"All the other ones were busy, as far as I know," Tonganoxie athletic director Brandon Parker said. "We were told that Leavenworth was the closest we could get."
The Leavenworth ambulance transported Schierbaum 15 miles to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, making it well over an hour from the time he was hurt to the time he saw a doctor.
BLHS athletic director Joe Keeler said if a player was seriously hurt while playing at Basehor he wouldn't have to wait that long for medical care, because the school has an Emergency Medical Technician on hand for football games. The city's Director of Emergency Management, Chuck Magaha, serves as public address announcer at the games and makes sure there's an emergency vehicle on site at no cost to the school.
"It's always been something they do just as a service to the community," Keeler said. "We've been fortunate to have professional help like them around in case of an emergency."
That wasn't the case last Friday at Tonganoxie, and Schierbaum was forced to lie on the field in pain as the trainers and coaches did their best to reassure him he'd be OK.
"At first I actually thought I broke my neck, but I could move my arms and legs, so then I knew that probably wasn't what happened" Schierbaum said. "They told me the ambulance was on another call and I had to wait. After awhile I was kind of wondering what was taking so long, but the coaches and trainers were out there keeping me calm. Even the Tonganoxie coach and their trainers were there with me."
Parker said it had never taken that long to get an ambulance to a THS sporting event. He noted that a week earlier a Mill Valley player had suffered a serious concussion on the same field and an ambulance arrived within 10 minutes.
While Parker said Friday was the first time THS had a problem with a slow medical response, he would consider taking steps to avoid it in the future.
"Those are things we'll look into," Parker said. "We're always concerned about our athletes, and about visiting athletes."
Schierbaum will wear a neck brace at until Tuesday, when he will be reevaluated by his doctor. He will miss Friday's game against Westport and the following game at Bishop Ward. He said he hopes to return for the senior night game against Piper on Thursday, Oct. 26.