With the recent death of Tom Cutinella, 16, football player at Shoreham-Wading River High School, the public is becoming more aware of the dangers involving the sport of football. Tom died at a hospital last Wednesday night after suffering a head injury during a game against John Glenn High School in Elwood. In such a hardcore sport, some say that the game involves contact, therefore the injury may have been a result of a pre-football play. I believe that although an injury has the potential to occur at any time, if precautions may be made to prevent such injuries then they should be made without question. More than 75% of all football players have experienced a concussion. The dangers of head injuries are finally starting to resonate with parents in light of these recent tragedies.
Jordan Stummer, kicker of the Hills West Varsity football team, stated “I don’t know much about what happened, but I know that if you have an injury already you shouldn’t be playing in a game. More injuries can be prevented in the future by doing health physicals and checking up on the players equipment to see if it’s in good shape.”
High schools and the NFL should be investing in safer helmets, head gear, and padding in order to truly prevent such injuries. Many believe that coaches should be more educated concerning the risk of concussion, and should set certain guidelines for their players to recognize the symptoms of a concussion.
Running back and wide receiver, Raymond Lyte states “Mistakes happen on the field daily. A big issue that can be fixed is better equipment for players throughout the nation. Better padding is obviously the best way to go, but what happened to Tom is unfortunate and was a tragic incident and can be viewed as an accident. RIP 54.”
Mr. Miggliozi, the Junior Varsity football coach, states “Unfortunately, this is a tragic accident. Prevention is the question that everyone wants answered. I do not have that answer. As coaches, we try to teach proper technique to help the athletes compete. The only thing that I think about concerning this incident is how tough it will be on his family. The whole thing is extremely unfortunate.” Mr. Migliozzi has been a Physical Education teacher and Football coach for several years.
After interviewing my neighbor, a physician and parent of two young teens, he believes that the players have to realize the risk when they begin playing the game. “Sadly, I do not think that concussions can be prevented in contact sports. The nature of the game is to physically smash into another human being. Even the most professional football players in a multi-million dollar sports are making tremendous quantities of money, with the most advanced customized protective equipment, can get concussions. Unfortunately, I believe we cannot prevent this type of injury.”
Hopefully, as a community, we can learn from this tragedy and raise awareness and prevention as a result. Accidents do happen, but there are always ways to prevent them.