Welsh rugby match canceled after player sustains worrying neck injury while waiting for ambulance

A rugby match in Wales was canceled after an injured player had to wait nearly three hours for an ambulance.

Ystalfera’s Championship game with Pontypool was canceled before half-time after Arwel Thomas suffered a neck injury that came down clumsily as he battled for the ball in the air. The home side trailed 7-0 when the game was interrupted after just 32 minutes of action.

Fortunately, the work of both clubs’ physiotherapists, Ystalyfera’s Natalie Hawkins and Pontypool’s Adam Brown, ensured that Thomas was kept comfortable and safe while waiting. Scans later on Saturday night revealed that he had not suffered any serious injuries.

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“It was a one-on-one air match,” explains Ystalyfera’s rugby manager Damian James. “Our winger and their winger went up for the same ball and it just came down and landed awkwardly on his neck. It’s just an unfortunate incident. Both physios were on the field right away and felt like they were unable to move him.”

“We left the game for half an hour to see what was what. We had four hours for the ambulance, but it came in around two and a half hours. They were in touch with us all the time. We were shocked about the relationship that it was a neck injury and the position the player was in.

“We have a good attitude in the club with physios. Natalie is quite qualified. Pontypool had a doctor come over so he came over, asked Arwel how he was doing and told the ambulance so I think that’s why he was faster came.

“To be fair to the referee, he is fairly level-headed and immediately said that safety was paramount. No one was able to intervene and the whole protocol was followed. We all agreed at half an hour wait and then postpone It’s a shame because there was quite a crowd there, we also started well, we were only 7-0 down after 32 minutes.

“I think we would have challenged them all the way through, to be honest. The referee blew up early before halftime. There was no sign of the ambulance, so the match was halted.”

The club was quick to recognize the good work of both teams’ physios, with both taking turns holding Thomas’ neck in a safe place until the ambulance arrived. Thomas wasn’t the only unlucky Ystalyfera player to end up in A&E, with two of his teammates also taking blows. Fortunately, given the severity of his injury, he appears to have escaped without major damage.

“Between Pontypool’s physio and our physio, they both stayed on the field with him until the ambulance arrived,” James added. “He stayed in the same position he landed in. Natalie was on the pitch in a matter of seconds. The referee blew up because of the challenge and from there he didn’t move. She sat up to hold his neck up and they both switched for the three hours – doing half an hour each.

“He was put there in a comfortable position, while they watched his neck. They were excellent. Both parties handled it brilliantly. Their physio Adam was supposed to go out to dinner with his wife, but he said he would’ I’m not going anywhere! He stayed for the duration.

“He had scans last night and was out by 11pm. He may have to go back for an MRI scan but that’s up to the doctor. They thought he was fine and there should be no further problems. A little sore but he’s in Had a bit of a disaster yesterday Three boys ended up in ER All rugby incidents One broke his thumb and is out for the season, another had 16 stitches on his eyebrow after a head-on collision and what happened to Arwel.

“Those things happen, though. Pontypool was brilliant with Arwel yesterday. They kept in touch with him today. He was also well looked after with our physio.”

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