A New York high school senior is claiming his coach wouldn’t let him play in his school’s basketball game after he missed the team’s bus while helping to rescue a man from water.
On Feb. 11, Lucas Patchen, a volunteer firefighter and a senior at Thousand Islands High School, was one of 10 people to help a fisherman who had become stranded in water and was found drifting on a block of ice. It was also the same day Patchen had an away basketball game with his teammates.
Because of the rescue, Patchen missed his team’s bus that would have taken him from the school to the playoff game.
In an attempt to make the game, Patchen drove himself to the game and was able to get there before it had started.
However, that’s when Patchen claimed his coach told him he wasn’t allowed to participate.
“I showed him a picture that the LifeNet helicopter took of the boat and us out there, and he proceeded to tell me that it was an administrative issue and it didn’t have anything to do with him,” said Patchen to CBS affiliate, WWNY TV.
According to a statement obtained by WWNY, Thousand Islands High School has a policy where “any player not riding on a team bus [has] to call the coach or athletic director.”
Patchen stated he was unable to call his coach because of the rescue and instead texted his teammates once he was back on shore.
The statement was also said to have read that “a parent must drive their child to the away game site and sign [the player] in,” which in Patchen’s case did not happen.
Even though the school said it is “proud” of students who volunteer as emergency workers, Patchen’s father, Michael, said it’s not enough.
“I think the school maybe should change their policy. The school is supportive of community involvement, so the fire department should fit in perfectly with that,” said Michael Patchen to WWNY.
According to WWNY, the superintendent of Thousand Islands High School said he’s “willing to consider changing the policy to help students who are volunteer first responders.”
But Patchen said the way his coach handled the situation was uncalled for.
“I was pretty much irritated that the fact that he said that and that I just took my own gas and my own car to Indian River to support the team,” said Patchen to WWNY.