With the collapse and seizure of Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson, a very frightening truth was discovered on Friday. As was first reported by Pro Football Talk, the NFL does not require an ambulance to be at practices.
It took between 15 and 20 minutes for an ambulance to respond to the Eagles' request for help. Luckily for Patterson, team doctors, trainers, and for former Baylor/rookie guard Danny Watkins (a former firefighter and EMT), were able to handle the situation as they waited.
"You see something like that and you automatically want to help the guy," Watkins said after his first practice with the team.
The Eagles's spokesman told Pro Football Talk that the team did, in fact, have an ambulance on site, but that it did not go to the correct hospital.
Whether the Eagles did or did not have an ambulance on site, the truth still is that the NFL does not require it. In the scorching heatwave spread throughout the United States, and the emphasis on player safety NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claims to want, this oversight is unexecusable. Rather than wait 15-20 minutes to have an ambulance arrive to the site, the NFL needs to pay the cost of ensuring there are medical evacuation capabilities at all player workouts. It's the only way to mitigate what could become a very bad situation. Mike Patterson's collapse nearly was.