Trowbridge Rugby Club used laces, shirts and bibs to help stop victims' bleeding

A women’s rugby team paused a training session to provide “lifesaving first aid” after hearing cries for help following a car crash next to their pitch.

Trowbridge Rugby Club women were training on Wednesday 9 August when a vehicle carrying four passengers ended up on its side on the byway heading to Whaddon Lane near the rugby club at around 8.40pm.

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The team immediately sprung into action, jumping bushes and scaling barbed wire to see what had happened before leaping into action to administer what Trowbridge Police described as “lifesaving first aid” treatment.

Two female passengers had already managed to make their way out of the blue Mazda but two males, the driver and front passenger, were still inside when the rugby team made it to the scene of the accident after a “mighty crash”.

Of the four casualties, one had a catastrophic bleed to his arm. The team of around 15-20 players had organised themselves to provide triage and used rugby boot laces, playing shirts and bibs to form makeshift tourniquet to try and stem the bleeding.

The male involved was reportedly later air lifted to Southmead Hospital by Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Others supported the heads of two casualties to prevent spinal injury and provided verbal reassurance while assisting police officers until the ambulances arrived and even then they continued to assist emergency services staff and reassure the casualties, two of whom were just 16 years old.

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Women’s rugby car crash rescue: What they said

Trowbridge Police said: “Without their assistance this could have very easily been fatal. It was a fantastic effort by this rugby team in assisting.

“It was humbling seeing members of public coming together in order to help out fellow citizens.”

Club chair Emma Santer, who herself is an emergency department nurse and joined the side in 2020, revealed the team found a lot of blood at the scene but stayed calm and worked together as a team to create a triage system.

She told BBC News: “We all just ran to the bushes. Half of us jumped over a barbed wire fence. The other half crawled through the bushes which were full of stinging nettles.

“We opened the boot and helped one get out of the car. There was lots of blood. Two people got to each end of the lane, so they could stop traffic coming down. We had one person on the phone to 999 and three rugby players helping each patient.

“I’m proud of my team, I think they did really good. No-one even second guessed, they all just went to help. We’re quite a new team, we had quite a few new players recently and it just shows how you naturally form into a team and over the few weeks and how that bond has blossomed. We always keep a calm head and communicate with each other.”

Ms Santer confirmed the side held a de-brief the following day with pizza and mental health support offered.

Wiltshire Police confirmed a man in his 30s suffered a serious arm injury that is not thought to be life-changing. The three other passengers reported minor injuries.

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