Referee on a stretcher

Tue, 25 Sep 2012 19:50

Just when you think you have seen it all, something new happens. On Saturday at Newlands a referee was taken off on a stretcher - a mobile one. One wonders if that had ever happened at the great old ground before.

There were just three minutes to go in the main curtainraiser to the Currie Cup match. Western Province Under-21 was playing the Leopards and the referee was going across to deal with an infringement when he suddenly collapsed in obvious pain.

The medics ran on to help Lusanda Jam of the Border Referees' Society and eventually the mobile stretcher came on and took him from the field. The assistant referee Dilbert November took over.

Jam had severely injured a groin muscle and will be out for about four weeks. He received medical treatment at the ground and afterwards was in no pain though walking gingerly. He is still walking gingerly but is back home in Alice and he will not be able to run for some time.

For Jam it was a painful end to an excessively active week.  He was at club champs and refereed and ran touch on the Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. On the Friday he had the honour of refereeing the Final of the Club Championship between College Rovers and Pretoria Police. He left straight after the match for Johannesburg and slept over the Holliday Inn  at Oliver Tambo Airport. His flight to Cape Town took off at 7 o'clock in the morning, arriving at 9 o'clock. At 12.45 he blew the whistle to start the Under-21 match.

That's a hectic programme even for a fit 29-year-old.

Lusanda Jam was born in Port Elizabeth on 29 June 1983. He moved to Alice when young and finished his secondary schooling at Siyabonga Senior Secondary before going on to Fort Hare University where he graduated with a BAdmin before doing honours. He is now in the accounts department of the Eastern Cape Education Department.

Jam, who is unmarried, played club rugby as a fullback and started refereeing in 2003. At present he is on the National Group, the panel just below the eight Super referees. Apart from many other matches, he has referee three schools 'Tests', involving South Africa, Wales, Namibia and England.