This past week was another fraught with tragedy in the world of High School Football when three young men died as a result of catastrophic injuries while playing the game they loved. What’s worse is that according to one article, twelve kids die on the average each year as a result of playing HIGH SCHOOL football.
In fact, that same article goes on to quote the Annual Survey of Football Injury Research 1931-2013 in which 75% of all direct fatalities are due to head/neck & brain injury. Here’s the other interesting caveat, ALL of the fatalities were at the High School level, none happened in College or Pro Football. We don’t know what you think but to us, those statistics are alarming.
We are certainly not advocating doing away with high school football. But these stats are readily available yet it doesn’t seem that enough is being done to curtail or eliminate these fatalities all together.
In other sports, even when one fatality occurs, the cause and effect is analyzed. And if changes to equipment have to be implemented then they are. Take for example the death of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt lost his life in a crash due to a broken neck. After this incident NASCAR required every driver to wear what’s called a HANS DEVICE which stabilizes the driver’s neck in the event of a crash. They also softened retaining walls so that they would absorb more of the impact than the vehicle in case of an accident. You can read more about the aggressive safety measures taken by NASCAR here.
It’s astonishing to us that more isn’t being done, especially when it comes to protecting our kids. High School sports are supposed to be about teaching kids personal discipline, team spirit and self-esteem. But it is a little hard to focus on those concepts when one’s life may be in danger. There is inherent danger in any sport, make no mistake. And freak accidents do happen. But when statistics show that 75% are head injuries, shouldn’t more aggressive action like shoring up equipment take place? Maybe a review of some of the blocking and tackling moves that could also be a contributing factor could be reviewed? And that’s just for a start. If NASCAR can change everything for the death of one of their own, shouldn’t high school sports be willing to do that for our children if it would prevent the death of one?
We certainly don’t have the answers. But we will continue to ask the questions until those that should have the answers get them.