School Rugby Injury
Terrible news involving another high school student athlete.
This time, Wesley Jorisch. He's a 16-year old rugby player on the junior boys' team at Marshall McLuhan High in Toronto. No one knew much about him until Thursday night. Now, his name is splashed across media websites, Facebook and more.
Jorisch is in critical condition at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre after reports say he suffered head injuries after being tackled in a Toronto District Colleges Athletic Association league game against Pope John Paul II high.
When I first heard about his injury on Thursday night, Nick van Rijn - one of my colleagues in the newsroom - came over and asked if I could help with information for a story.The people, who I contacted, were very cooperative and knew it was a sensitive item. Star reporter Brendan Kennedy is working on an update to what he's posted On-line and informed me on Friday afternoon that Wesley remains unconscious.
Let's all pray Wesley recovers from this. Let's also not panic and stop sports in schools for investigations. Toronto Police reported that this was an accident.
What I found interesting were the quick comments from Star readers after the initital story was posted on our website and, since then, by e-mail and voice mail. Some people left their names with comments. Others did not and really had some nasty stuff to say.
For those who say I am against rugby, not so. It's a rough game, some people call it barbaric, but like any contact sport there is potential for injury. Yes, I have raised the subject of injuries and a need for improved and certified coaching, top notch officiating and a better understanding of the game by athletes - boys' and girls' - their parents, teachers and administrators. That doesn't mean I dislike the sport.
Yet, some comments that I received are disappointing.
"There you go again, writing about a rugby player getting injured. This has no business being in the paper. Leave the kid alone" writes Barry Walsh, Toronto, in an e-mail.
Here's one from the voice mail.
"Far worse injuries occur in football, wrestling and hockey. Are you blind and naive. Write about them as much as you do about rugby". Male voice. No name left and call display was blocked.
At the Tim Horton's at Eglinton and Don Mills, I stopped for a coffee this afternoon and saw two guys reading the Star and talking about - yes, the rugby story. They were saying it's a case of reporters exaggerating the entire episode "because that's what papers do". I wonder if these two men went over to Sunnybrook to be with worried family and friends and felt the same way.
Yes, we have a job to do. It's not always about who defeated who in a school game. Far more times than some of us like, it's about a teenager getting seriously injured in a school game. Remember three years ago in Mississauaga. Manny Castillo, a Lorne Park student, died from injuries received in a game. Yes, it too was rugby.
I know there have been thousands of games played since then. I also know, from what I have been told and witnessed, that liability remains a big issue with boards of education. I just hope someone doesn't decide to remove certain sports from school programs - because of accidents.