Loading...
'BYH' to the GOP, working on their new motto, "We don't mind if a man tries to rape you, we only care if you don't want...

Football continues to ignore player safety

082918ECUFootball-5.jpg
1 of 7

East Carolina football players run drills during practice, at the Cliff-Moore Practice Facility in August.

College Football Picks
Panthers Preview-2
Keeping Cool Football
Keeping Cool Football
080318-ConleyFootball-5.jpg
Cardinals Football-1
Loading…

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

You can add the name Jordan McNair to the list of college, high school and middle school players who might have needlessly died for the love of football.

A simple, well-known procedure — immersing McNair, 19, in a tub of ice water — when he collapsed at an off-season University of Maryland workout in May could well have saved his life. But it didn’t happen. This failure drew national attention to how unprepared many football programs are to keep their players safe.

The focus on concussions can obscure the deaths that continue to occur each year. Last year, 13 high school and college players died from incidents that include heat stroke, head injuries and sudden cardiac arrest.

Just two weeks ago in Crowley, Texas, Kyrell McBride-Johnson, 13, collapsed at a middle school practice and died that night. His mother told The Dallas Morning News that he was signaling for water before collapsing. An autopsy has not been completed, but the death of anyone so young raises troubling questions.

The simple truth is that player safety at too many schools and colleges comes in a poor second to winning. Even as the climate warms, colleges, high schools and middle schools are starting football season earlier than they used to.

Five decades ago, Notre Dame and Michigan opened their seasons on the third Saturday of September and Ohio State on the fourth Saturday. This year, spurred by longer seasons and lucrative TV schedules, all three teams played their first game Sept. 1, necessitating practices in midsummer heat. High schools and middle schools mimic the college schedules. (In 1968, the NFL season began on Sept. 14; this year, it kicks off this Sept. 6.)

Starting the season later could by itself reduce the number of heat stroke deaths. But even with the current schedule, schools know how to prevent potentially fatal incidents and to rescue students if they occur. In 2013, more than a dozen leading sports medicine groups and the National Federation of State High School Associations endorsed a list of best practices to prevent injuries and save lives.

Grading states against that list and other smart practices, the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute found that 28 states have failed to put in place half the measures to keep students safe. Even the states that scored highest in the 2018 study — New Jersey and North Carolina — have less than 80 percent in place. California and Colorado, with the worst records, employ less than a third of them.

That’s inexcusable. If states have the wherewithal to run high school football programs, they have the wherewithal to do more to ensure that students don’t die.

Many of the policies are based on common sense and carry minimal costs. Preventing heat stroke, for example, requires players in hot weather to acclimate: no more than one practice a day, and no practice lasting more than three hours. But the majority of states don’t require this, according to Douglas Casa, the Stringer Institute’s CEO. Nor do all states require cold-water immersion tubs be on hand; a tub costs about $150, can be purchased at a hardware store, and is known to save lives. Many don’t have an emergency plan posted on the field and known to all school staff.

And just a handful require an athletic trainer on site for all “collision/contact” practices. Yes, this costs some money, but if a school can afford to maintain a football field and pay for coaches, insurance, uniforms and travel, the cost of a single staff member with medical training is not too much to ask.

More than 110 years ago, after at least 18 college players died during a single season, President Theodore Roosevelt saved the game by pressing for commonsense safety measures.

Today, everyone knows what the solutions are. It’s long past time for state athletic officials and lawmakers to act.

USA Today

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

September 21, 2018

Senate Republicans found themselves politically cornered Monday as they considered what to do about the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. That nomination is suddenly in jeopardy thanks to a credible accusation from a California woman, Christine Blasey Ford, that Kavanaugh sexually…

Supreme Court Kavanaugh Politics

September 20, 2018

Earlier this summer, Robert Runcie, the superintendent of schools in Broward County, Florida, sent a back-to-school message to the "families and community" of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

His missive mentioned nothing about teachers or books or curriculum. Instead it went on for four pages…

Florida School Shooting 911 Calls-5

September 19, 2018

Hurricane Florence has lingered over North Carolina. The storm’s initial rain, high winds and storm surge-flooding has been followed by even more rain, swollen creeks and rivers along with impassable roads from interstates to neighborhood drives.

Cities like Wilmington — not merely…

Tropical Weather North Carolina-4

September 18, 2018

"The youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply," Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday, as he issued the federal government's most forceful warning yet that these electronic nicotine-delivery devices are hooking a generation of teenagers. He promised that…

Flavored Vaping Sales Ban

September 17, 2018

America shouldn’t be in the coup business. Period.

It’s a relief, then, to learn that the Trump administration chose not to aid rebellious leaders in Venezuela seeking to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. But it’s worrisome to think that President Trump and his advisers…

Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

September 14, 2018

Over the past few decades, there has been a proliferation of criminal statutes and regulations carrying criminal penalties at the federal level. As Congress debates criminal justice reform, mens rea reform should be on the table.

For years, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced and called for…

Trump Finance-3

September 13, 2018

It is tremendously sad and horrific to think about the forthcoming disaster and what it could bring to our communities and our neighbors to the south. We did nothing, really, other than live like we always have, to bring this on ourselves. Nevertheless, it is here.

Hurricane Florence, a major storm…

091218Sandbagging-4.jpg

September 12, 2018

You can add the name Jordan McNair to the list of college, high school and middle school players who might have needlessly died for the love of football.

A simple, well-known procedure — immersing McNair, 19, in a tub of ice water — when he collapsed at an off-season University of…

082918ECUFootball-5.jpg

September 11, 2018

By now, few might lift an eyebrow at President Trump’s crusade to delegitimize his own Justice Department and, specifically, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It long ago became clear that Trump regards federal law enforcement — as he sees all of government — as a political…

Trump Sessions

September 08, 2018

Republican state lawmakers decided last week to investigate the Cooper administration’s slow response to Hurricane Matthew relief in some of the state’s hardest-hit areas. That could be a useful exercise, if our legislators use what they find to fix real problems, and they don’t…

090518Cooper-HilmaGreens-2
102 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»