PEI

Softball coach concerned after finding needles in Charlottetown dugout

The coach of an under-12 girls softball team says he will be showing up to the field earlier to scan the diamond and dugouts from now on after finding two needles on the bench before a game Friday evening at Central Field in Charlottetown.

Chris Halliwell encouraging other coaches to scan field before games

Chris Halliwell found these two needles in the dugout at Central Field in Charlottetown at around 5:30 p.m. Friday. (Chris Halliwell)

The coach of an under-12 girls softball team says he will be showing up to the field earlier to scan the diamond and dugouts from now on after finding two needles on the bench before a game Friday evening at Central Field in Charlottetown.

Chris Halliwell, who also serves as president of Softball P.E.I., is encouraging other coaches to do the same. He posted a picture of the needles on Facebook and received comments from others who have also seen needles on ball diamonds.

"A lot of times kids will get to the dugouts or the field before a coach and I just wanted the coaches to be aware to check those dugouts and check the playing surfaces because it's not something we're used to doing," Halliwell said.

"I always look around for glass and things like that. But I'll be paying close attention to these types of things from now on."

Halliwell said the city's parks and recreation staff does a great job of cleaning the fields and keeping the dugouts tidy. But they can't be expected to monitor the fields 24 hours a day.

"Somebody who used those needles could have been there five minutes before we got there, we don't know."

Disposing of needles

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office recommends using tongs or puncture proof gloves to pick up the needle and place it into a proper sharps disposal container or, if that is not available, a hard sided puncture resistant container with a screw on lid such as a peanut butter jar and take it to Island Waste Management's household hazardous waste depots.

Police have said another option is to call the nearest detachment's non-emergency line, and an officer will come and dispose of the needle.

Safety the biggest concern

Halliwell said as a coach, safety is always his biggest concern. 

"We really want to make sure the kids are in a safe environment. Dealing with COVID-19 this year's been a challenge in itself," he said. 

"So adding this to it — a whole new thing to worry about."

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With files from Tony Davis

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