I had an opportunity to drive by a few schools and check out the football practices — and then started to shake my head and even cringe.
Great to see students participating. Wonderful to see coaches volunteering, even though I question if some are really qualified to do so in football. But I also saw a fair number of players limping and others slow down after a bone-crunching tackle. It got me wondering about contact sports and how much people are thinking about what to do when a young kid, one playing for the first time, gets hurt.
I think the word I am looking for is liability. All right, so players sign waivers, but I do remember reading a recent story about 1.4 million students getting injured in sports in the U.S. leading to half a million doctors visits and 30,000 hospitalizations. That's in the U.S. Can't seem to find any figures in Canada and OFSAA also doesn't keep track of that information.
Parents should be wondering if their children's high schools are taking the proper measures to reduce the risk of a sports injury, one that might be catastrophic — paralysis to death. I hope so. Also wonder if therapists are at games or nearby?
I know injuries also happen in badminton and soccer and even crossing the street. But football is a major contact sport and many players are coming off a summer of no activity, but sitting in the sun and watching time go by. Not everything falls on the school as parents should talk to coaches, check out quality of equipment, ensure facilities are safe and see if emergency procedures are in place — just in case.
Sports are great, but let's not forget about safety too.