Wednesday 23 September, 2020

Haile Selassie student struck by lightning remains in hospital

File photo of Haile Selassie players celebrating during a Manning Cup game.

File photo of Haile Selassie players celebrating during a Manning Cup game.

The Haile Selassie student who was affected by lightning at an Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Manning Cup on Tuesday remains in hospital for monitoring.

This was reported by ISSA through a release on Wednesday, which stated that "the player is responsive and test results indicate that he has no internal injuries."

The incident happened minutes after the Group A game between Haile Selassie High and Cumberland High was called off in the first half as a result of heavy rain. The game was being played at Haile Selassie High school field off Spanish Town Road.

ISSA stated that the referee indicated in his report that the game started promptly and in good weather as there was no rain.

The release from ISSA further stated that "approximately five minutes into the game rain started and eventually the downpour became heavy with the runoff from the school compound creating a waterlogged field. He (referee) called off the game after 16 minutes. Up to the time of him calling off the game, there was no visible or audible signs of lightning or thunder.

"After leaving the field of play he (referee) went to move his vehicle and then went inside the changing room to change out of his uniform. While changing, he (referee) heard the lightning strike and upon going outside saw some Haile Selassie students running from the field. He was then informed that a student was struck by lightning while removing items from the playfield."

ISSA also said that a staff member from Haile Selassie commended the referee for making a wise decision in calling off the game before signs of lightning or thunder.

"The staff member believed casualties could have been much worse had the game been in play."

ISSA president Keith Wellington stated that “the health and wellbeing of athletes is a priority. We have guidelines and policies to reduce the likelihood of something like this happening but these have been extraordinary times and hence we have made additional changes to the schedule since the first incident.

"We are currently in discussions with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Emergency Medical Department who will issue an advisory in short order regarding the matter of how the public should respond in circumstances relating to the current adverse weather patterns” 

Wellington further stated that "since the start of the season, ISSA has been at lengths to remind all officials to use all measures within their power to ensure the safety of players, officials and patrons including use of the 30-30 rule, which states that if thunder follows lightning less than 30 seconds after it is seen, then it is a threat and the game should be called off."

Wellington said that ISSA will continue to monitor the student’s condition and is praying for a full recovery.

Just two weeks ago, five players were affected in a similar incident at a Group F Manning game between Wolmer's Boys and Jamaica College at the Stadium East Field.

Two players - one each from both schools - were taken to hospital in that incident.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: