High school football isn’t just something to do on a Friday night in Oklahoma. Instead, it’s a way of life, a rite of passage for players, cheerleaders, band members and students. But if one man in New Hampshire has his way, it will be banned.
Paul Butler is a doctor and a member of the Dover, New Hampshire school board “Our school district should not be supporting a game that I believe is dangerous” he said. Butler specifically points at head injuries like concussions, he says it’s too dangerous for high school athletes.
KRMG went to Union High School to get reaction from head football coach Kirk Fridrich. As you can imagine, he has a different opinion. “There’s a risk in just about everything we do” he began.
Fridrich understands there are dangers involved in the game but thinks there’s a bigger upside “there’s so many valuable lessons that are taught and learned” he began. “Courage and teamwork and all those kinds of things that make it well worth the benfit and the risk.”
There’s a belief that some cases players who are injured are coming back before they’re ready. KRMG asked Kirk who makes the final decision on when a player gets to return after they have been hurt “that call comes from the doctor and the parent” he told us.
But what if its s star player and a big game, are they sometimes rushed back into the lineup? “I’ve never been in a situation where that’s taken place” Kirk assured us. “If anything we have them probably triple checked because the wellbeing of the athlete is the upmost importance to us” he finished.
Back in New Hampshire the school board hasn’t voted on the proposal but they are talking about it and Butler is willing to be patient. “I suspect it’s going to take a long time, this might be the first volley” he stated. Butler then offered some examples “it took a long time for people to start wearing bicycle helmets, it took a long time for people to stop smoking.”
Students who heard about the proposal were not happy “I can’t imagine football just suddenly disappearing” one said. Another was more forceful “It’s ridiculous, it’s always been a culture around here, everyone goes to the game on Friday night.”
One final note. In the Dover school district the sport with the highest incidence of concussions is girl’s basketball.