By: Foday Manneh
Sources at the ongoing regional heats of Upper and Senior Secondary Schools in the West Coast Region have raised concerns over the lack of medics to help treat and prevent athletes from injuries during events.
“We were made to understand that there would be no Red Cross coverage during the Inter schools, and we lodged our complaints — but to no success as the organizing committee went ahead with their decision,” a source told TAT.
According to the eyewitness, students dubbed athletes are faced with the risk of being injured ahead of the finals — given the circumstances in which over 50 schools, including Upper and Senior academies, are currently participating in Bottrop high school.
“The risk of doing that is unavoidable. We faced many challenges regarding the health of the athletes last year,” he said.
“We have to come with our medics; some people are not trained or cannot do the job. Some of our athletes are young and are running because of their fitness and passion, so when we reach the finals, some of them could be out because of fatigue and injuries,” the source added.
Another source said the recommended medics for each school need to be revised to carry out the required work in addressing the woes of the athletes.
“Let’s say you have two medics, and there is that relay event called the hospital event; I am pretty sure two people cannot care for those athletes,” he said.
“We are relying on our students because no school can provide medical personnel or even provide first-aid assistance to us. So we have to go with them to where they can support us.
When contacted for comments on the issue raised by the concerned sources, the President of the Gambia School Sports Association, Ismaila Ceesay, said the lack of funds affects their wish to provide medical coverage for their events.
“We cannot pay the bills for Red Cross. We don’t have money because we are not sponsored. We are even doing these events because we borrowed money from outsiders,” Ceesay said.
“We asked every school to come with two medics that will help cover the responsibility of the Red Cross. But unfortunately, we cannot take care of Red Cross transportation, medical, and feeding bills. It is costly,” the President added.
Whether due to the funding or not, the impact the Red Cross have on the health of athletes during sports activities in Gambian schools will remain enormous, and the provision of a way to address this will be significant to the careers of these young sportsmen and women