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Lordswood: Football player from Maidstone left waiting four hours for an ambulance

By Jess Sharp

A football player was left waiting for an ambulance for four hours after being knocked unconscious.

Ryan Burbridge was playing in goal for Crowborough Athletic in a game against Lordswood on Saturday.

He came out of goal to make a one-on-one save and was knocked out by a boot to the face.

Ryan Burbridge, 27, was knocked out while playing football
Ryan Burbridge, 27, was knocked out while playing football

The 27-year-old, from Maidstone, said: "I made the save and the next minute I was unconscious. I can't remember what happened but I was told I got a boot to the face.

"When I came around my neck and my jaw were instantly in pain and I was just dazed."

Lordswood's physiotherapist came over to check on Mr Burbridge and an ambulance was called.

Soon after he started to struggle to feel his fingers and his feet and began shaking.

Lordswood manager Richard Styles said: "Our physio dealt with him and did everything we needed to do, the game went on and it was only when it ended that I realised Ryan was still in the facility and the ambulance hadn't arrived.

"He started to go into shock, he started to shake and his eyes were rolling..." Richard Styles

"He came round on the pitch so when they stretchered him off, he was awake. I don’t know how long he was unconscious for but it probably wasn’t overly long but he was out for the count.

"Our physios George Loscombe and Kieran Gooding managed to get him back awake, got him strapped on a stretcher and off the field. He went into the boardroom to get further treatment and when the game ended, that’s where he was. That’s when I went in and saw him.

"There were a lot of people around there, making a fuss of him and George and Kieran stayed with him until the moment he was taken to hospital by his mum and dad.

"It dragged on a lot. The ambulance had originally said it would be two hours, at about 4.15pm, but it got to 8.15pm and Ryan was still in our boardroom, laid on a stretcher covered up.

"He started to go into shock, he started to shake and his eyes were rolling a little bit.

Mr Burbridge spent a further four hours at Medway Maritime Hospital
Mr Burbridge spent a further four hours at Medway Maritime Hospital

"At that point, his dad made the decision to put the stretcher in the back of his estate car and take Ryan to hospital himself.

"If he’d broken his arm or something like that, we could have got him up to hospital a lot sooner because it wouldn’t have taken a priority with an ambulance.

"But when he’s been knocked unconscious and it’s a head injury and he’s openly saying he’s got pains in his neck, struggling to feel his fingers and his feet, it does raise alarm bells a little bit. I think, at that stage, it becomes a priority, whether you’re playing football or not."

Mr Burbridge was rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital where he waited in A&E for four hours before being able to come home.

He said: "I had to have a CT scan and I had to be checked over but they told me I have injured the muscles in my neck and back. It's not the best thing but at least it is nothing too severe.

"I don't think I will be going back to work any time soon and I can't drive yet. I have to wait to be assessed by a physio first."

An ambulance was supposed to arrive within two hours
An ambulance was supposed to arrive within two hours

SECAmb spokesman Rich Airey said: "We will look into this in more detail as soon as possible.

"We invite anyone with any concerns to contact us directly.

"All calls are categorized according to information given by the caller. It appears this call was a category three to which we would aim to respond within two hours.

"At times of high demand we can take longer to reach patients who are not in an immediately life threatening condition.

"We are always very sorry when it takes us longer than we would like to reach a patient but we must always prioritise our response to get to the most seriously ill and injured."

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