Kevin Fiala appeared to suffer a serious leg injury, or multiple injuries, after the Nashville Predators forward slammed into the boards early in the second period of Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues Wednesday.
Fiala’s condition was such that medical staff brought out a stretcher to remove him from the ice. He was then taken to a local hospital via ambulance for further evaluation. The Predators eventually sent out an update saying Fiala was alert and in stable condition.
Predictably, there was a lengthy delay as Fiala was attended to. However, once he left the ice the delay continued for several more minutes. Fans at the Scottrade Center and many watching on television were confused as to why there was an additional delay.
The NHL’s Emergency Medical Standards is meant to “provide a consistent level of medical care for potential catastrophic injury at all NHL practices and games for both home and visiting teams.”
Under “Ambulance Service” in section four of the document it decrees:
“Clubs are required to have at the arena an ambulance solely dedicated to players, positioned at ice level, staffed by emergency personnel certified in airway management including intubation and IV access at the scene.
“In the event the player’s ambulance is used to transport a player to a hospital, a replacement ambulance (with the same capabilities) dedicated to players shall be available. If the replacement ambulance is not on site when the first ambulance departs, the home club should alert the NHL Video Room who will determine when resumption of play is appropriate.”
So there you have it. They needed to wait until a second ambulance arrived. Safety first.
Thankfully we don’t see too many lengthy delays like this one because, despite the violent nature of the sport, serious injuries at the NHL level remain relatively rare.