It’s always tragedies that lead to remedies, and of course, it’s the critics that keep any one and in this case the Basketball federation checked for performance.
Sunday afternoon witnessed yet another ugly chapter in the National Basketball League when a talented young Rhoda Naggita almost lost her life on court!
The sad incidents occurred during a Women game between UCU Lady Canons and KIU Rangers at the MTN Indoor Arena in Lugogo.
Naggita, a point guard for UCU fought helplessly for her life while on a hard court in the fourth quarter of the game where a collision left her requiring oxygen and treatment from skilled medical staff.
Few seconds inside the fourth quarter, Naggita, outside the perimeter in an enemy territory drove inside KIU traffic in an attempt to make a floater but her shot was denied by the rim, and she landed awkwardly on the ground. Later, it was understood that she was hit in the chest.
Normal play continued with KIU’s Jane Nabakooza picking a defensive rebound and went for a fast break at the other end.
As KIU advanced the ball, Naggita remained on the ground, but under a watchful eye of referee Monica Nassuna who thought that she was getting to her feet soon, but it later turned uglier.
With play stopped after KIU failed to execute, Naggita was moaning in agony and her pain escalated before the doctor and teammate Zainah Lokwameri who was denied to play on the day, came to rescue.
The reaction of the team doctor – immediately waving to UCU bench to come on court for help – emphasised that the situation was serious.
Naggita’s moans continued and it worsened inside what had now turned into a quiet arena. You could even from a distance hear the little girl struggling to breathe, fighting for her dear life.
Everyone who had stormed the court, beside the doctor who tried to roll her to sleep on her stomach and Lokwameri who was holding Naggita’s head, stood there clueless.
And moments later then, with everything getting out of control, it was suggested that Naggita be rushed to hospital. But via which means?
She was carried, with the help of FUBA refs Brian Ssebalamu, Baker Kyambadde and other members, but to make matters worse, the lower doors of the arena were locked, so it necessitated the carriers to lift the patient across the steps.
She was rushed to Abii hospital in Wandegeya via UCU team bus where she received treatment.
Play continued, UCU won. Rhoda is now fine. But is that all??
The Big Point – FUBA Take Note
Basketball may not be considered by many as a contact sport, but the fact that it requires physical and trained athletes to play, makes it a risky sport. Life is always in danger and at risk every minute a player steps on court.
The playing environment, which is the court in this sentence, is not all that secure which is understandable. But a team coming with a doctor or the mattresses at YMCA court are not enough to ensure safety or minimise injury. The basics are not enough.
Take an incident of Naggita in this scenario who was wheeled away in a team’s bus, lucky enough it was Sunday and no traffic jam. What if it was a busy evening like on Friday? How long would it take from Lugogo to reach a nearby place like Wandegeya for starters? What would have happened to a team that doesn’t own a car for instance?
I know that FUBA has done everything in their own means to ensure safety of players, but a big step must be taken to always put an ambulance in place always on matchday. Its a must in Uganda Premier League and Rugby league as well. Basketball is not far different. Naggita was on the verge.
It’s a big ask for FUBA to buy an Ambulance, but hiring is within their reach. Plus, some clinics/dispensary/hospital are ready for partnerships like these.
And also, besides a team doctor, a federation medical personnel should always be there before a game starts. Players at some stage will also be sensitised on how to give quick first aid.
These players must be selfishly protected because they are the reasons as to why fans flood Lugogo or YMCA.
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