BY LINDA BENTLEY | OCTOBER 24, 2012
Running of the Bulls fraught with injuries, some serious
‘One patient suffered serious mouth and dental injuries that were so graphic, two young spectators fainted …’
CAVE CREEK – A lot of people who attended and participated in last year’s Running of the Bulls event joked about how the bulls appeared old, small and docile or ready for the glue factory.
It seemed as though cowboys had to coax the bulls to keep up with runners who were simply jogging.
Last weekend’s event was a different story.
According to Rural/Metro Fire (R/M) Chief John Kraetz, last year’s event produced two injuries, a twisted ankle and a cut finger.
Phil Immordino, the event’s promoter, apparently decided to kick it up a notch this year with much larger and faster bulls.
Last year’s bulls were generally 1,200 pounds or less. This year bulls averaged 1,500 pounds with at least one boasting 1,750 pounds.
Participants paid anywhere from $25 per run to $100 for an all-run pass.
They also were required to sign a “Participation and Liability Waiver Agreement,” acknowledging the “Warning: This activity and your participation in that activity can cause serious injury or even death, and you hereby agree to assume all risks related thereto.”
Participants also had to sign a medical form and possess medical insurance in order to participate.
On Monday, Kraetz sent an e-mail to Town Marshal Adam Stein and Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, detailing the injuries his EMS (emergency medical services) personnel handled during the weekend’s bull run, stating this year’s event “certainly presented its challenges.”
Kraetz said, “The bulls were huge and fast” and “raised havoc on the poor runners.”
R/M EMS treated an immediate (Level 1) life-threatening head injury; an immediate head injury sustained by a 1,200-pound bull stepping on a runner’s head; one runner severely gored in the leg, requiring stitches; a broken thumb; and a patient with heat-related issues; along with numerous bumps, bruises and abrasions.
Kraetz said, “One patient suffered serious mouth and dental injuries that were so graphic two young spectators fainted, adding to the stress on the system.”
He told Stein and Abujbarah, “Each time they ran the bulls, my folks treated patients. Some runs produced one to two patients; other runs produced five to six. Five to six patients in the same three-minute time frame severely taxes the EMS system unless we are geared up for it. We would have been if there had been any indication by the promoter that the caliber of bulls had been ratcheted up so much.”
If the town chooses to allow the event to be held in Cave Creek again next year, Kraetz suggested the town require a dedicated paramedic ambulance on standby at all times during the event, and a dedicated first aid tent to be staffed by one firefighter paramedic and one firefighter emergency medical technician, the costs of each to be borne by the promoter.
He also said he would also move an additional ambulance into town at R/M’s expense to add to the one normally stationed in Carefree, making it a total of three ambulances in town during the event.