NCAA, ACC Narrowly Escape

NCAA, ACC Narrowly Escape

Baseball

NCAA, ACC Narrowly Escape

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Sunday’s Championship game of this years ACC Baseball tournament started like any other had.  In fact, it was better than past final games in one regard, their were more fans there to see an ACC Baseball Tournament Championship game than had ever attended before, the 6,247 fans in set a new ACC record.
Everything was going great.  Perfect weather, full house, two teams battling it out, displaying good sportsmanship, and competing at their highest levels.  Things suddenly turned scary though.  In the bottom of the eighth inning of a 5-3 game, Florida State baserunner James Ramsey was attempting to tag up and score on a one-out routine fly ball to right field.  After the catch was made, the throw coming in wasn’t cut off and set up a potential play at the plate for the third out of the inning.  NC State catcher Chris Schaeffer had set up in the base line about 10 feet in front of home plate, and as he waited on the throw to get to him, he was lit up by Ramsey.
Schaeffer was knocked unconscious on the play, and was transported to a local hospital nearly 35 minutes after the accident occurred.  Thirty-five minutes.  Yes,  you read that correctly.  The delay in the response time could be blamed for something that really blows my mind, there were no EMT’s on scene.  None in the ballpark, none waiting outside, none anywhere at all.  How does this occur in today’s game?  How does the NCAA nor the ACC not make sure that there is sufficient medical staff on site in case of an accident?
We have all seen it before, even if just a fan in the stands passing out or heaven forbid a player have a serious medical problem in the heat of the game’s play, and there always seems to be medical personnel on standby and at the ready.  Not this time.
In this tournament alone I witnessed two foul balls smoked into the dugouts, one striking a player on the hand before he could think to move, the other striking a coach in the side of the head, directly in the ear.  We also saw a foul ball scream up over the net(a net that is no where near high enough for aluminum bats) and shatter a window in the press box.  Those things occurred in the first two days of play.  One would think those may have served as a reminder, or perhaps a warning to someone in charge that maybe every precaution necessary should be used, and that of course should start with EMT’s being on site, just in case.
Factor in that between 1991 and 2001, 17 players were killed after being struck by a ball hit right at them, and that doesn’t include serious injuries to players, coaches, or even fans, and then ask yourself the same question I sat and pondered as I watched this young man laying motionless on the field for what seemed like an eternity.  Laying motionless waiting on a phone call to be made, a dispatcher to place a call, for EMT’s to receive the “emergency” call, then to make their way to the stadium, try to gain entry to the field, and then finally arrive by the injured players side, nearly 20 minutes after the initial collision.
Thankfully for Schaeffer, his family, his teammates, and everyone else involved, his injuries did not turn out to be life threatening.  Still though, one has to ask the age old question; What IF?

One thing I know for sure, as the title of this little read says, the NCAA and the ACC narrowly missed a huge mistake and a huge liability issue.  I can only hope that a lesson is learned, and that whoever made the mistake or oversight this time around doesn’t let it happen again.

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