Pin It
Favorite

Head Exam 

A Priest River high school football player's injury brings the concussion debate close to home.

click to enlarge art17038.jpg

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. As Bobby Clark ran off the field during his football game on Sept. 30, he collapsed. He was airlifted from Priest River to Spokane, where he was put in a coma to stop the swelling in his brain. He’s still fighting for his life at Sacred Heart.

Bobby Clark suffered a concussion.

The entire Inland Northwest shares the anguish of the Clark family, knowing he could have been any boy from any school here. In fact, Bobby was one of three Priest River players to suffer a concussion in that game. Coaches report the team of 45 boys in the tiny town of 1,700 has experienced nine such head injuries this season.

How many concussions will it take to wake us up? Football is America’s favorite pastime, a lot of fun to watch and play, but we’ve somehow taken it off the deep end.

And it’s not just the head injuries. ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook wonders if there’s even more collateral damage — if “boys are seeing their college chances sabotaged by football.”

Easterbrook points out that women are making it to college much more frequently than men — USC is 55 percent female; the University of Georgia, 62 percent. Just 20 years ago, there were more men in college than women. Too many boys today, he speculates, “spend too much time on football and not enough time on schoolwork.”

He lays the blame on overzealous parents — “mostly men, [engaging] in Walter Mitty fantasies by running football teams.” In Virginia, the governing athletic body recently allowed coached football to take place 49 weeks of every year. In some states, boys as young as first graders are playing tackle football.

Like I said, off the deep end.

Just one out of every 50 high school football players gets into college via sports. The other 49 need to focus on academics, otherwise they will find out that the deck is stacked against them. Unemployment for those with at least a college degree is 4.2 percent. For those with just a high school diploma, it’s double that; for high-school dropouts, triple it.

We need to bring some common sense back to the sport. The focus on concussions in recent years is a good start, but medical professionals should be consulted even more on the proper age for kids to start tackle football, and to dictate equipment changes for maximum safety. Finally, parents need to get real. Football should not be a year-round, all-consuming undertaking. For almost all boys, a great education is the key to a better future. Football is supposed to be just for fun.

Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.

  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Clinton In Command
  • Clinton In Command

    While Obama and Trump may believe that American global leadership is over, Hillary Clinton sees things differently
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Debate Decorum
  • Debate Decorum

    Trail Mix: Trump's weighty attacks and Inslee/Bryant showdown
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Building on the Past
  • Building on the Past

    With dynamic new leadership, Coeur d'Alene is starting to make the dream of a high-tech economy come to life
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • <b>From Crimson &#10;to Purple</b>
  • From Crimson to Purple

    Bob Gregory was a Spokane-bred Cougar through and through; now he's prowling the sidelines for the Huskies
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • After the Deluge
  • After the Deluge

    Cleaning up Trump's hot mess is going to take some heroic leadership
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


Briefs


trail mix


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation