By Erin Valois
When Alex Dabkowski was injured during an intramural soccer game on Oct. 16, she was afraid she broke her tailbone.
As a member of Ryerson’s figure skating team, the injury could have been career-ending.
She had a hairline fracture in her tailbone from a previous injury — and she didn’t want to take any chances.
But when the paramedics came, Dabkowski found out that they were unable to use a stretcher to transport her to the ambulance because the stretcher could not fit in the Recreation and Athletics Centre’s elevator.
She had to walk up two flights of concrete stairs.
“I had to walk from the bottom floor to the lobby to get to the paramedics,” she said.
“Here I am walking, thinking my tailbone is busted.”
Director of athletics, Ivan Joseph said what happened to Dabkowski is inexcusible.
“This should not have happened,” he said.
“There should have been another way to get her out of there that didn’t involve stairs.”
Dabkowski said the opposing team was playing rough, knocking the air out of her a few times during the game.
But punishment for physical play is at the discretion of the referee and Dabkowski said there were few calls in her favour.
Ten minutes after halftime, she jumped into the air to get the ball and collided with an opposing player.
They both crashed to the floor, but Dabkowski didn’t get up.
“The air is knocked out of me, I’m thinking my tailbone is busted and everyone is crowded around me,” she said.
“I hit the top part of my right buttcheek. I already had a minor hairline fracture in my tailbone, so I thought it was broken. I’m just lying on the ground and I’m devastated.”
Her soccer teammate, Paul James, said RAC officials did not manage the situation well.
He said the referee tried to help and told the teams to get changed and leave. But James was more concerned with getting Dabkowski out of the gym.
“I told them that she’ll need an ambulance because she couldn’t walk. They looked at her but they said they had to call security first,” he said.
Ryerson security supervisor Imre Juurlink said security responds faster to emergencies than Emergency Services because they are already located on campus.
“The moment you call us, we call Emergency Services. Security meets up with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and escorts them to the area,” she said.
“It makes everything move much quicker.”
Dabkowski was moved to a bench in the gym and a member of Ryerson security supported her head, in case she had a spinal injury.
After a trip to the hospital, it turned out Dabkowski didn’t break her tailbone.
The doctor said she may have sustained a concussion when she hit her head on the gym floor.
“On [Oct. 21] when I kind of started to jump, I could feel my muscle tense up and I could see spots,” she said.
“I’m taking it easy but I’m still on the team and I’m working hard.”
Dabkowski said her coach won’t let her play intramural soccer anymore.
“The first thing my coach said when she heard about the accident was ‘You’re not playing soccer anymore.’”
Joseph said coaches should still encourage their athletes to play intramural sports. He said this helps to create a community within Sports and Recreation.
“You have to look and see the rate of incidents to the rate of participation,” he said.
“You have to see how many accidents are happening and then you’ve got to see if that’s a red flag.”