No ambulances at Pinellas H.S. Football games? No problem - WNCT

No ambulances at Pinellas H.S. Football games? No problem

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CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Friday night was the home opener for the Clearwater High Tornadoes against the Tarpon Springs Spongers and while there are plenty of cheerleaders, students and parents, one thing was missing: an ambulance crew in case a hard hit turns into a ride to a hospital.

Instead, Pinellas County uses athletic trainers who are first to respond. "We contract with four different vendors in Pinellas County. And this provides a trainer at all of our high schools six days a week. So this is someone who's there during practice, during events, for all sports for all athletes," said Melanie Marquez Parra from the Pinellas school system.

Another layer of safety for high school football: Sunstar ambulances stage units nearby in case they're needed.

Pinellas had ambulances on the sidelines about 10 years ago. But they were eliminated for budget reasons. If a player is injured, the goal is to have a firefighter paramedic there in 4 1/2 minutes...and an ambulance there in 6 1/2 minutes.

It happened last week in Clearwater's game against Hillsborough High School, a player was injured and an ambulance wasn't right on the field, but when seconds counted, one arrived quickly.

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