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Medical staff not required at games

Ben Godar

While the Burbank Unified School District regularly provides

physicians and even an ambulance at football games, it appears it is

not required to supply such medical staffing.


The issue could come into play in a lawsuit filed recently on

behalf of a San Gabriel Gabrielino High School football player who

lapsed into a coma during an Oct. 4 game against Burbank High School.

Andrew Castillo collapsed and stopped breathing after complaining of


head pain. He was taken to an area hospital, then transferred to a

private hospital where he remained in a coma until early January.

While Castillo was attended to by Burbank High School team

physician Dr. Steve Yacoubian and other volunteers, the lawsuit

claims paramedics contracted to be at the game were out on another

call, and both districts failed to provide ample medical staff.

However, state athletic officials said there are no requirements

for medical staffing at regular season games unless established by


the schools themselves.

The California Interscholastic Federation has no requirement for

medical personnel at sporting events, Assistant Executive Director

Roger Blake said. The Southern Section, of which Burbank High Scool

is a member, only requires a licensed physician at playoff games.

“It’s all a local decision made by the local school board,” Blake

said. “Most districts don’t have a requirement, but some do.”

Burbank Unified officials were unable to confirm Friday if the


district had its own policy regarding medical staffing at sporting


The district is self-insured and part of a joint powers agreement

with several school districts, including San Gabriel, said Steve

Bradley, assistant super- intendent of business services. The policy

covers any injury at a sporting event, whether on the field or off,

he said.

Because the district is self-insured, its coverage is not

dependent on what level of medical staffing is provided, district

attorneys said.