Local Football Tragedies and The Future
Posted in the Lakewood Forum
#1 Sep 17, 2013
Two local schools
Two football Players
Two traumatic brain injuries.
1 instant death on Field.
1 life altering injury.
Ironically, the death was a HS football player from Westfield.
The other obviously deserves privacy as he survived the trauma, so will not even mention the school. For anyone over the age of 45 around here this recent tragic event is going to awaken a lot of painful memories.
Unfortunately, for the district school district involved in this tragedy, it is not 1975 anymore, so I would imagine the legal implications would be staggering.
On a related note, I think we are in the throws of witnessing the beginning of the end for small town section 6 C and D league football in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. One, the demographics do not support it anymore. Shrinking school districts and shrinking school budgets. Local schools will be not sustain the insurance liabilities. Second, it's a common sense safety and dignity issue for the kids. If you do not have enough skilled depth levels to fill a football roster you are asking for serious injuries, and can see this happening every week. Here is why. Even in a shrinking school football league, you can will have a few exceptionally strong and skilled athletes that are playing against average to below skill levels. The incongruency on the field is why the injuries are becoming more frequent for all players.
The burden and responsibility of some serious injuries can be varied and complex and preventable, and is certainly not the responsibility of the 15 - 17 year old kids involved. It is someones responsibility, so the schools and adults who are sanctioning the program need to a lot of self examination and ask themselves some honest hard questions. Keep in mind even the NFL, with their billion dollar coffers, realize that they are not even immune from getting sued out of existence. That is why they are in a balancing act right now in trying to alter the inherent violence of the game. If it's not collective lawsuits, it will be one horrific injury witnessed on national TV that will push it over the edge.
In preserving HS football for now at the local level, no malicious blindsided hit, legal or illegal, should be ever tolerated by the adults who are sanctioning these events. I witnessed this a couple of weeks ago at Silver Creek Fredonia game. A player was blindsided so hard that his helmet flew off and he lay on field disabled for several minutes. Not sure on the result of his injuries. It looked to me like the incident in quetion was way out of the field of play, so this looked malicious to me, but I am sure others may have seen it differently. When I raised concern about this to a parent next to me, he looked at me like I was nuts and said "what's the big deal it was a clean hit." Don't think he would have had that opinion if the tables were reversed. Not sure who did the offending hit and do want to know. The absolute worse thing are for adults to cheer that on, only followed by the adults, officials and coaches who say nothing because it was technically legal. How can our kids out on the field exercise discernment if the parents, coaches and officials can't. Time for everyone to wake up out of your fantasy football leagues where your kids are being used for real life gladiators. As far as the midterm future of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County football, better to combine three of four school districts football programs together and form a solid B or A League team, where kids could compete with more dignity and skill levels would be better matched. For you doubters who want to keep the status quo, look no farther than the undignified embarrassing trouncings that some teams are receiving the last few weeks. The demographic pipeline ran out on Southwestern's dynasty football program and it will run out on Fredonia's in a few years at best. Demographics are the best predictor of the future and demographic trends are hard to reverse.
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