St Albans dad condemns lack of first aid at football club

A FOUR-year-old boy who broke his collarbone playing football in St Albans should have received immediate first aid on the field, according to his concerned father.

Barry Fitzgerald, whose son Franklin began training with St Albans City Youth Football Club in August this year, explained that his boy was recently involved in a tackle which left him lying in pain on the pitch.

The St Albans man alleges that a teenager refereeing the boys did not seem to know what to do, and as no first aiders came forward to help his young son, Barry assumed he had just suffered a minor bump.

As he did not want to be an over-anxious parent, he picked Franklin up and took him away from the field.

It was not until Franklin was still complaining of pain two hours later that Barry realised there was a more serious problem.

Unfortunately he then had to wait a further five hours at Hemel Hempstead hospital for an X-ray, which showed the boy had suffered a clean break to his collarbone.

Barry said: “Accidents happen and the blame is on no one, but I was a little concerned that no one appeared to know first aid, because Franklin is only four years old.”

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He added: “I am most upset with the lack of first aiders on the day and the [lack of] care or concern since.”

Barry explained that he did not want other youngsters left in pain like Franklin, and that it would have been helpful if someone with first aid training had been available to recognise the seriousness of his son’s injury straight away, as he should have been taken by ambulance to hospital.

He was also annoyed at the seeming lack of concern when, despite taking his son to watch his teammates play football the following weekend with his arm in a sling, that no one approached and asked after his health. Franklin is, however, recovering well and already kicking a football around again.

Mervyn Morgan, club trustee, said there was adequate help available as most of the coaches are trained in first aid. However Barry did not ask for anyone’s assistance, so first aiders were apparently not aware Franklin was injured.

A couple of young coaches are undertaking training to obtain a level one coaching badge, which includes emergency first aid.

The club also organised a first aid course late last month, which was attended by 24 volunteers.

In response to allegations that there was a lack of caring shown to Franklin, Mervyn said he had been in contact with Barry, and had responded to his concerns.

Mervyn added that Franklin’s age group trains only, as the emphasis is to have fun on the pitch, and they do not play full football games until they are older.