While the concerns over the brutality of football continue to grow, a senseless death on a high school football field has everyone asking, why?
A 16-year-old boy died Thursday morning when a log fell on his head during football training.
In an apparent team-building exercise, 5-foot-6, 134-pound junior Joshua Mileto was one of five students carrying a log overhead, when something went terribly wrong. Emergency workers took him to Stony Brook University Hospital where he died.
Why were a bunch of teenage boys carrying a log over their heads? In a sport that is continually having to defend itself against cries of lack of proper safety, why was this exercise even considered?
Google Log PT, and you’ll get numerous posts about the effectiveness of the exercise to build team camaraderie…among Nayy SEALS. That’s right, someone who is expected to keep boys 14-18 safe, someone who is entrusted to teach life lessons–through football–to impressionable youth thought it a good idea to use the same exercise on kids that is used for grown men training to be a part of the most elite unit in the world.
You know what’s appropriate team-building exercises for a bunch of kids?
As we become more aware of the exact dangers of football, and CTE, and subconcussive hits, the voices get larger and steadier. It seems each month another report appears with hard data detailing the risks of playing football. In 2016, 16 kids died directly or indirectly related to football, including three on the field during games, according to The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Someday there will be a district attorney who will prosecute for child abuse [on the football field], and it will succeed,” Dr. Bennet Omalu said during a New York Press Club talk. “It is the definition of child abuse.”
“If you play football, and if your child plays football, there is a 100 percent risk exposure. There is nothing like making football safer. That’s a misnomer.”
Omalu is the doctor featured in the film “Concussion” starring Will Smith. He is credited with discovering chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
A recent study published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 110 of 111 former NFL players who had their brains donated for examination suffered from CTE.
All to say, what many of us know who have grown up watching and/or playing the game. It’s dangerous.
So why add more to it?
Isn’t playing the game perilous enough?
There’s no doubt the coach responsible for this activity will never be the same. He will probably spend the rest of his life second guessing throwing a bunch of kids into a drill reserved for the best America has to offer. Also, he should never work with kids again. His ignorance and negligence
Also, he should never work with kids again. His ignorance and negligence is beyond reproach. There are so many valuable lessons football can teach. Unlike basketball, baseball and hockey, where one athlete can take over a game, football requires 11 players executing their individual assignment to be successful. It is the ultimate team sport. It forces each player to rely on someone else to be effective. There are some things however, football doesn’t have to teach. Carrying a log with five of your classmates in the middle of the summer on weary legs as a test of strength or manhood isn’t one of them.
A 16-year-old kid shouldn’t have to teach you that lesson.