Vehicles for injured players to be donated

Gators efficiently take injured high school athletes off playfield



The goal of the “Gators” is to transport injured athletes to medical attention quickly and efficiently.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen editor-in-chief

Pullman Regional Hospital will donate John Deere utility vehicles that will function as transports for injured student-athletes to local high schools.

The vehicles, also known as “Gators,” remedy the issue of navigating through difficult paths that would prevent injured athletes from getting quick attention. The Gators will be available at Pullman High School and Potlatch High School, according to a press release from Pullman Regional Hospital.

The distance between Potlatch High School and the field posed a safety issue, Alison Weigley, assistant director of Development, Marketing and Major Gifts, said. Having a vehicle that quickly covers the distance from the field and the school was needed, she said.

The Gator has good terrain tires and has a significant horsepower, Weigley said. In addition, athletic trainers driving the vehicles would have a gear bag filled with medical supplies that could treat any minor injuries.

“This isn’t replacing [emergency medical technicians], not replacing an ambulance,” Weigley said. “It’s the first person on the field to be able to make a medical assessment as to how severe the injury is.”

The Gator is not only beneficial for student-athletes, but also for the athletic trainers participating in the Regional High School Athletic Training Program.

The RHSATP provides athletic trainers for Colton, Garfield-Palouse, Potlatch and Pullman school districts. The program was initiated by the Pullman Regional Hospital Orthopedic Center of Excellence, whose vision was to ensure safety among students, she said.

“Having access to an athletic trainer is not typical for small schools like Garfield-Palouse and Potlatch,” Weigley said.

She said having one’s child injured on the field or on the court is an emotional situation. Knowing there is an athletic trainer available helps provide peace of mind.

Weigley herself had an experience as a student-athlete where she was injured during a game and needed to get medical attention.

“I was playing in Lewiston and I got a pop fly right in the face during a softball tournament,” she said. “There was really nobody there with medical expertise to assess me, so some parent loaded me in a car and drove me to the hospital.”

The RHSATP also partnered with WSU athletic training students, who are able to gain experience hours in their field, she said. The RHSATP hopes to be a long-term program and aims to expand to other schools.

There will be a dedication ceremony 7 p.m. Friday at the Pullman High School football game.