Editor’s Note: The High School player (19) is not dead, just getting up after being hit in a football game. 

STEVE MCGRAIN

Sports Editor

mcgraist@plu.edu

The nostalgic thought of “Friday Night Lights” is something all high school football players will reminiscence about, it is part of what shaped our characteristics during those four years.

There have been six high school football players, who have died under the lights, since the beginning of September. The ages have been different and so has the part of the body where these kids have been stricken the most.

A general perception of the cause will be immediately directed toward head related injuries, but there are other areas of concern. Three of the six deaths were caused by head and neck injuries, while one was caused by a ruptured spleen and the sixth was a congenital heart.

The game has drastically changed since I graduated high school. All of the high school athletes have more knowledge about how to work out and become stronger or faster. Making them prone to playing reckless during games, for example, a free safety giving up his body to destroy a wide receiver running a route over the middle.

All athletes have injuries throughout their playing career, some go away unscathed, they’re the lucky ones. I have suffered five concussions and a Grade 2 sprain of my MCL, a ligament in the knee during my senior year of high school.

While injured, the mindset of many players is to not report it and continue to play. Getting “your bell rung” was part of the game, now it is considered a concussion.  The culture is a relentless one. Unless the leg is broken, walking around the hallways with crutches underneath your armpits is showing signs of weakness.

We have come a long way from the leather helmet to the Revolution 360 helmets, which a majority of kids are playing with now. They are supposed to be designed to protect kids on a more consistent basis from head-related injuries, because preventing a concussion entirely would be to stop collisions.

One thing I have learned as I have matured in this precious life is that football is just a game. Unless an opportunity to present itself to play professionally, it will not help you later on in life. The only way it will help is the lessons learned throughout the years of playing.

But now, there is more to it than just to go out a play a game, I love this game and always will. I knew the gamble associated with it, concussions equaled head trauma and maybe the loss of a few brain cells, as well as memory. Death though, it was only paralysis that was feared previously.

Football is game, treat it as such. Something that is forgotten at the high school level, I failed to remember this simple thought. It’s nothing to die over.

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