Rule Submission TitleMedical Time-out Change
USAP Board Voting StatusNot voted upon
USAP Rules Committee Voting StatusFail
IFP Voting StatusAverage: 1.0 Detail:3,0,0,0,4,0,0
Existing Rule #10.B. Medical Time-Out
Proposed Rule Change
  1. B. Medical Time-Out. A player needing medical attention during a match should request a medical time-out from the referee. Player’s partner, opposing players and/or referee can request a medical time out on a player playing in a match. The referee will then make the decision if a medical time out will be issued. Once the medical time-out has been called on a player, the following guidelines shall be used:
    • B.1. The referee shall immediately summon on-site medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, to assess the situation and render appropriate first aid.

 

10.B.1.a. If the referee has evaluated that an ambulance will be potentially needed for this medical time-out (i.e. heart attack, severe injury, unexplained unconsciousness, breathing difficulty), and an ambulance is not on scene, the referee must insure that 911 has been immediately called to respond to the scene. Do not delay by waiting for onsite medical personnel to arrive.

  • B.1.b. When medical personnel or the Tournament Director arrive, the referee shall start the 15-minute continuous timeframe.

 

  • B1.c. If the player cannot resume play after the 15 minute medical time-out period is complete, the match will be declared a retirement.

 

  • B1.d. If the player uses fewer than 15 minutes, the remaining time is lost and no additional medical time will be available to the player during the match.

 

  • B.1.e. If a second medical time-out is issued on the same player during the match, the match will be retired.

 

  • B.1.f. Biohazard cleanup of the court is considered a referee time-out and has no consideration in the 15 minute continuous timeframe of the medical time-out.

 

10.B.1.g. Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to continue play.

  • B.2. The player issued the medical time out will only be allowed to resume match play with the clearance of medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, that the player issued the time-out has the physical and mental ability to resume match play.
  • B.2.a. If medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, determine that the player issued the time out does not have the mental and/or physical ability to resume match play, the match will be declared a retirement.

10.B.2.b. If the medical time out is the result of a head injury and medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, determine that concussion protocol evaluation should be instituted; the match will be retired and the player must undergo a concussion protocol evaluation before being allowed to play any further in the tournament.

10.B.2.c. The player issued a medical time out always has the option at any time to retire from play.

Original Rule Text
  1. B. Medical Time-Out. A player needing medical attention during a match should request a medical time-out from the referee. Once the medical time-out has been requested, the following guidelines shall be used:
    • B.1. The referee shall immediately summon on-site medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, to assess the situation and render appropriate first aid. 10.B.1.a. When medical personnel or the Tournament Director arrive, the referee shall start the 15-minute timer.
    • B.2. If medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, determine that a valid medical condition exists, then that player will be allowed no more than 15 minutes for the medical time-out.
    • B.2.a. The time-out must be continuous and may be up to 15 minutes. If the player uses fewer than 15 minutes, the remaining time is lost and no additional medical time will be available to the player during the match.
    • B.2.b. If the player cannot resume play after the 15-minute medical time-out period, the match will be declared a retirement.
    • B.3. If medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, determine that no valid medical condition exists, the player or team will be charged a standard time-out, if available, and issued a technical warning. 10.B.3.a. If a standard time-out is not available, then a technical foul will be issued.
    • B.3.b. The medical time-out is no longer available to that player for that match.
    • B.3.c. A player may be granted only one player-requested medical time-out per match
    • 10.B.4. Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to continue play after a medical time-out.

      10.B.5. Presence of blood. If blood is present on a player or on the court, play may not resume until the bleeding has been controlled and blood on clothing and the court has been removed.

      B.5.a. Issues relating solely to blood cleanup or control will be considered a referee time-out.

      B.5.b. Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to continue play.

 

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

The reasons for my proposal to change the wording and structure of the “medical time-out” is multi-faceted:

1) No penalty should be issued for calling a medical time-out. To make an interpretation that a medical time-out was not necessary is a difficult judgment. I have not talked to one referee that has issued a penalty for a player calling a medical time-out. I have talked to referee that have had to participate in determining if the medical time-out was necessary or not. I have had players refuse a medical time-out even when having trouble breathing and bleeding through their bandage.

The referee, medical personnel, the tour director should not be put in the position of ruling if a medical time-out was valid or not. The time you save in match play will probably be negated by the discussion that will need to take place to make the judgment. How many times in all the tournaments and matches has a penalty been called?

A referee told me a story of a player calling a medical time out for a foot injury and medical showed up. Medical related it was a tendon problem and they could proceed. Medical on scene does not have the equipment or expertise to diagnose 100% a medical problem. In the above scenario the medical person could have been an orthopedic surgeon and he/she could not have been 100% certain that it was a tendon without a minimum of an x-ray. Another common pickleball scenario is muscle cramping. Showing the correct signs and symptoms of muscle cramping is a high indicator of cramping but it is not necessarily the definitive medical test. Any medical professional is very cautious about diagnosing any specific medical condition without a series of confirming tests. Anyone with the knowledge of a specific medical condition can fake that condition to arrive at the desired scenario they desire until testing can take place (i.e. feigning a heart attack).

Peer pressure and sportsmanship alone in the sport of pickleball will influence that players will not call a medical time-out unless they believe it is imperative necessity.

 

2) The importance of time and getting the player to a medical facility for treatment. There should not be a delay of calling 911 for ambulance transport. Medical personnel can have everything they need to treat a medical emergency (i.e. oxygen, monitor/defibrillator, I.V.s, appropriate drugs) but immediate transport has to take place in the more serious scenarios. Time can be a big factor in the outcome of the patient. Medical professionals are taught that time can lead to loss of heart muscle in the case of a heart attack. In the case of a stroke time can lead to loss of cognitive function for the player.

The complaint I hope not to hear from a referee is I don’t want to be responsible if an ambulance should be called or not.  A referee should always insure that an ambulance has been called if they determine that the medical time-out is serious enough that they will require transport to a medical facility. A referee can, as John Q. Citizen, call 911 anytime there is no difference in their everyday life. Emergency personnel are not going to disdain you for calling 911. They experience these judgement calls every day.

3) Medical time-outs can be called to the referee by the player, player’s partner, opposing players and the referee. The referee must then issue/grant the medical time-out. Expanding the participants with the ability to call a time out is given because of knowledge. The player’s partner may know their partner’s medical history. The opposing player or referee may be a medical professional recognizing a potential or real abnormal medical condition.

Usually everyone on the court and in the stands realizes that a player is experiencing a medical problem. Even if only one person is concerned what is the harm in calling a medical time out. An example would be a diabetic might be suffering a low blood sugar reaction and not realize it. Everyone else knows that the player is not acting coherently but the person in need is unaware. The result is he/she refuses to call a time-out. Potential medical problems should dictate freely being able to call a medical time out.

4) Clearance by medical personnel should be confirmed before the player is allowed to resume play. This is the same scenario as you should never be your own lawyer. The player may not be in the correct mental thought process to make the best judgment if he is able to resume play.

5)      10.B.1. established as the actions of the referee.

10.B.2  established as the actions of medical personnel and the medical condition of the player

 

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Rule will apply when a medical time-out is considered during the play of a pickleball match.

Rule Book Year2022
Rule Change ID77
Date CreatedJune 21, 2021
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