As school districts have cut costs over the years, one of the items often on the chopping block is having ambulances stationed at every football game.
"When you have the ambulance at the top of the hill, you only gain a few hundred yards," said one superintendent in Minnesota way back in 2003.
However, a few recent severe injuries to high school football players have some districts rethinking their policies.
In Utah, linebacker Garrett Blanc was knocked out during a game, and medical personnel decided he needed to be taken to the hospital. With no ambulance on-site, it took 25 minutes for one to arrive and transport Blanc, a junior, to the hospital.
"That was pretty disgusting to be honest," Blanc's father and the team's head coach told the Sun (Carbon County) Advocate. "What if he had broken his neck out there? You've got to have things like this treated right away."
According to the school's principal, Bruce Bean, the reason there wasn't an ambulance on-site was all about money.
"The cost of having the emergency personnel from our area, who work as volunteers, be at the games was too costly for the district," Bean said.
There are also factors based on a school's location and size. According to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City:The fact that every school deals with unique circumstances and its own school community and school board make it difficult for the Utah High School Activities Association to make blanket mandates, assistant UHSAA director Kevin Dustin said.
In Florida, a school district is revisiting its ambulance policy, which it eliminated in 2004, after a similar incident. According to WTSP in Clearwater:
Pinellas County is finding a way to get ambulances closer to its Friday night high school football games, after a Largo student took a frightening hit last month.
But the district says it's doing so thanks to volunteer measures, and no official changes yet in policy.
Thank goodness Taj Taylor is all right. But the Largo High School football player's injury exposed a potential shortfall in Pinellas County's safety net for its young athletes.
In 2004, the district opted to cancel its ambulance contract for Friday night football games, opting instead for six-day-a-week athletic trainers at all sporting events and practices... not just Fridays, and not just football.
Still, Athletic Director Nick Grasso says he took Taj's injury - and his parents' concerns - seriously enough to convene a panel of medical and emergency experts.
The outcome? Some cities in the area have stepped up and said they will voluntarily provide EMS units at Friday night football games.
Last year, school officials in Georgia reversed their decision to discontinue having ambulances on-site at football games. The decision was originally made to save the school system $24,000 a year. However, the Richmond County Board of Education decided the savings were not worth the risk.
In the end, the decision to have ambulances on-site isn't an easy one. As Bean told the Deseret News:
"There are also issues like if you do it for the varsity, should I have it at sub-varsity? Where do you draw the line?"
Those are decisions every school district should at least consider.