England’s Rugby Football League says it is looking into the circumstances which left Irish international Will Hope waiting in agony for three hours for an ambulance that never arrived.
Swinton forward Hope, 25, suffered a broken leg, dislocated ankle, and torn ligaments in the first tackle of Sunday’s Betfred Championship match against Sheffield at the Olympic Legacy Park.
The Ireland international revealed on Twitter that, after the ambulance failed to arrive, he was carried by team-mates on to the team coach which took him from Sheffield to a hospital in Salford, where he underwent an ankle reconstruction.
“To be treated like that, with my foot facing the wrong way for up to five hours because I ‘wasn’t a priority’ is disgusting and I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I cannot describe the agony I was in and the anger I still feel about the whole situation. If it wasn’t for everyone at Swinton Lions, I’d probably still be laying on that stretcher in the corridor waiting for an ambulance.
“I’m sure if it was a Super League game, it would be different. It’s actually laughable how bad it’s become. The whole of Swinton Lions and Sheffield Eagles have been fantastic, I can’t thank them enough. As well as everyone at Salford Royal Hospital — they’ve been brilliant.”
A statement from the RFL, the sport’s governing body said: “The RFL was contacted by Swinton on Monday regarding the circumstances surrounding Will Hope’s injury and has noted the player’s comments on social media.
“Firstly, we send him our sympathy for suffering such an injury in the first match of the season and wish him all the best in his recovery.
“We have contacted Sheffield Eagles for an explanation of the circumstances as they have been reported.
“While the delay before the arrival of an ambulance is beyond the control of the club, we have strict medical standards for all fixtures relating to personnel and facilities, with at least one doctor required to be present, and to be supported by the medical staff of each team.”
Sheffield Eagles chairman Chris Noble said: “We are in discussions with St John Ambulance and Yorkshire Ambulance Service to find out why no ambulance arrived on site despite numerous calls to find out timescales.”
A Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesperson apologised for the incident. “We are very sorry for the distress caused by our delayed response to this incident,” Cole told BBC. “The call was received during an extremely busy period and we were doing our best to respond to all patients who needed our assistance.”