Rugby player with serious ankle injury forced to wait more than an hour for ambulance- and then most of the evening for hospital bed

Ryan Tate Wisbech rugby player.

Ryan Tate Wisbech rugby player. - Credit: Archant

A WISBECH rugby player who suffered a fractured and dislocated ankle was left in agony for 70 minutes on Saturday while he waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Ryan Tate Wisbech rugby player.

Ryan Tate Wisbech rugby player. - Credit: Archant

Ryan Tate’s injury, sustained in a tackle 42 seconds into Wisbech seconds’ game at Diss, was so severe the game was called off.

But he had to endure more than an hour with nothing more than Ibuprofen to ease his pain before the East of England Ambulance crew turned up.

He arrived at the Norwich & Norwich Hospital at 5.30pm but then had to wait until 2.45am to get on a ward due to a beds shortage.

Tate, 29, who has played for the club for three years, will be in plaster for eight weeks before he can begin the rehabilitation process, which will last several months.

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He said: “It’s going to be a year before I will be able to even contemplate playing sport, and that’s if I decide I want to play rugby again.

Reflecting on the injury, he added: “When it happened I knew it was bad but it was not until I looked down and saw my ankle pointing in the wrong direction that I realised just how bad the injury was.

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“Initially my thought process was about the damage to my ankle but then other things came in my mind, such as work, family and my baby girl. How will I be able to support them?”

Wisbech seconds captain Oliver Mackett said: “He went into a tackle, his foot got stuck and a couple of players fell on him, crushing his ankle.

“The players were really shaken up by it, particularly those who were very close to the incident. It is the worst injury I’ve ever seen.

“We rang 999 but it took 70 minutes for the ambulance to come. He was sat there in considerable pain.

“Norfolk & Norwich is 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic, away from the ground and you would have thought, given the seriousness of the injury, it would have been a priority.

“While we were waiting we got him blankets and talked to him.

“The Diss players were great as well. He was hanging in there but he was clearly in agony.

“When the ambulance came the crew was brilliant, gave him morphine straight away and made him comfortable.”

But the waiting around was not over for Tate who, after his ankle was put back in place, spent five hours on a trolley in a quiet room while they waited for a bed to become available.

Mackett said: “All of the staff and the Norfolk and Norwich were very helpful, apologetic and were doing their absolute best. It’s just a shame there weren’t enough beds due to the long winter.”

A hospital spokesman said: “We are very sorry for the delay that Mr Tate experienced. We have been extremely busy over the weekend with large numbers of patients attending A&E.”

The ambulance trust has been approached for comment.

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