Hyatt injury highlights need, but JCA says it can't afford one

Jamaica Observer article.

Kingston, Jamaica - There are mixed views from within the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) regarding the need for the presence of a team doctor at national squad matches or training sessions.

After batsman Danza Hyatt's nose was broken in a practice game recently, Courtney Francis, the new chief executive officer of the cash-strapped JCA, said the move is not high on the list of priorities.

"It's not financially viable. It's just untenable. You can't have a doctor here on site for all the matches because you just can't afford it and it's not a priority for us," Francis told the Jamaica Observer.

But JCA board director Daren Powell, who played 37 Tests and 55 One-Day matches for the West Indies between 2002 and 2009, declared that always having a doctor on site "could be the first thing on the table" when the Association is in a better

Financial Position

While admitting that not having a physician for non-competitive circumstances in his playing days was the norm, Powell suggested the dynamics of the sporting landscape has changed globally.

"In my days you wouldn't have a doctor either. Only match days for regional games you'd have doctors but for trial matches it wouldn't be the case.

"But we would love for that to happen when funding is better at the Association because it's a professional thing now. This is more of a career opportunity than just a sporting event. If the JCA could afford it, that could be the first thing on the table.

"We are still behind the eighth ball when it comes to doctor and physiotherapist at training sessions and practice matches," the retired West Indies fast bowler lamented.

Hyatt, who was a reserve member of the Jamaica set-up after failing to make the final 14-man squad for the ongoing NAGICO Super50 tournament in Trinidad & Tobago, was hit by a short delivery from seamer Andre Russell during a practice game at Sabina Park on January 25.

The 30-year-old batsman missed an attempted pull shot and the ball squeezed between the peak of his helmet and the protective grill to cannon into the bridge of his nose, causing instant bleeding.

Panicked players beckoned for assistance, but there was no medical doctor at the ground.

Hyatt, who has played One-day and Twenty20 International cricket for the West Indies was subsequently taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies by

A Teammate

Francis, who headed the cricket operations arm of the JCA for several years before being appointed CEO recently, said the best the Association can do is to have West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief medical officer Dr Akshai Mansingh "on call".

"We have Dr Mansingh on call, but if a doctor was here the other day (when Hyatt was hit) there is not much else he could have done. He would have had to be taken to the University the same way," Francis countered.

"I don't think having a doctor on site is something the JCA will have any time soon. It is done for regional matches and it is done for international matches. Outside of that, it is a costly challenge," the JCA CEO added.

Meanwhile, Hyatt, who said he felt "most of the force towards the eyes" when he was just hit, was set to undergo surgery yesterday at the University of the West Indies after being admitted from late Tuesday evening.

He explained that no corrective action had been taken previously due to the extensive swelling in and around the affected area.

First Published In The Jamaica Observer.

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 11:01