High School Football Players Accused Of Knocking Youth Unconscious Barred From Playing


Posted on 27th November 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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It looks like the Wayne Township Board of Education in New Jersey finally grew a pair

Maybe it was the pressure of having their town assailed, not just locally but across the country, for allowing high school football to be king — the disgraceful actions of the youths who play the sport be damned. It all involves the aftermath of the beating of two students, an attack that left one of them unconscious and lying on a road.

Here’s the long and short of it. In a fight that happened at a party Oct. 29, nine football players for Wayne Hills High School — including wide receiver Andrew Monaghan — were accused of beating two students from rival school Wayne Valley High.   


When school officials at Wayne Hills allowed the nine players, who have been charged with aggravated assault, to take part in two playoff games after the Oct. 29 incident, some Wayne residents were “outraged,” according to The Star-Ledger of Newark.

It’s a surprise any residents were outraged, since high school football players are often given special treatment, and often get a sense of entitlement, namely that they can do whatever they want. 

The accused players had their advocates. Some residents, and the lawyers for the players, argued that the accused youths should be able to play. After all, they have not been convicted of any crime and are innocent until proven guilty, proponents for the players argued, according to The Ledger.

But on Friday the Wayne school board changed its tune. It unanimously ruled that the nine accused Wayne Hills players won’t be able to play in a state championship game next Saturday. The board said that the Oct. 29 incident “has left a black mark on our community.”

Until the case against the players is resolved, they should not be allowed to take the field, that’s our take. 

Interim School Superintendent Michael Roth several weeks ago ruled that the accused players couldn’t be suspended because their alleged actions took place off-campus. But then Roth had a change of heart, and reversed that decision Nov. 16, The Ledger reported. But then school school board voted to stay Roth’s decision.

On Friday the board lifted that stay.

The assault case is under criminal investigation, and the school board made some smart suggestions in the interim.

It wants a code of ethics written that will govern all schools in the district. It wants the state to precisely define when a school district can suspend a student for off-campus activities. And it wants the state Attorney General to follow the case to determine “whether it falls under the harassment, intimidation and bullying statute,” The Ledger wrote.

The story didn’t mention what happened to the youth who was knocked unconscious.    


Physicians, Coaches Form Concussion ‘Cooperative’ Group


Posted on 3rd April 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Doctors, coaches, equipment makers and parents are teaming up to study concussions, forming the National Sports Concussion Cooperative, according to the Associated Press.


The first meeting of the new group is set for May, with the American Football Coaches Association, the University of North Carolina’s traumatic brain injury research center, Rawlings Sporting Goods and the Matthew Gfeller Foundation among those participating. They are the founders of the group.

The Gfeller foundation was created by the parents of Matthew Gfeller, a high school student who died of brain injuries he sustained playing football in 2008. The North Carolina research center is named after deceased youth.

The concussion cooperative wants “to create a sort of clearinghouse for information on sports-related brain injuries,” according to AP.

The idea is to pool ideas and make suggestions for : guidelines for returning to a game after a concussion; coaching techniques; equipment design; and incorporating research into the process.

It sounds like a plan.   



Decade-Old Football Helmets Are On Their Way Out For Our Kids


Posted on 12th March 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Parents who have kids who play football can rest a little bit easier: Manufacturers are going to stop refurbishing helmets that are more than 10 years old.

The New York Times reported that the trade association that monitors the refurbishing of old helmets, the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (Naera), on Thursday said it would no longer take helmets that were more than a decade old.


There is a rub. High school and youth football governing bodies only require that helmets pass a standard that has been set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (Nocsae). According to The Times, that basically means that old helmets can be worn by young players, even if those helmets are really not protecting kids from concussions the way they should.

Schools can have their football helmets reconditioned on a voluntary basis.

So what’s the bottom line?

“Naera’s decision to reject helmets more than 10 years old will force organizations to choose between purchasing new helmets or putting youngsters in used helmets known to be less safe,” according to The Times.

In fact, the newspaper quotes some experts that believe now old helmets will be put out of circulation.

Naera is reacting to pressure that started when the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) began a probe of football helmet safety. And Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., also requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the two major helmet makers, Riddell and Schutt, for allegely making false claims about the safety of their helmets.

There has also been a call in Washington for a hearing on football helmet safety, including the use of old helmets, The Times reported.

Even though experts warn against the safety risk of using old helmets, the National Federation of State High School Assocations has lets schools decide what kind of helmets they want to use, including old ones. Why? New helmets cost more than refurbished ones. 

School budgets are getting cut these days, but someone better find the funds to pay for gear that protects our kids.    

NFL Considers Socking Players With Suspensions For Helmet Hits


Posted on 19th October 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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After a spate of player concussions and injuries this past weekend, it looks like the National Football League is poised to crack down on players who made hard head hits during games.

Several press accounts, including one in The New York Times Tuesday, reported that the NFL would mete out tough penalties and possibly even suspend players who inflicted dangerous blows to the heads of other players. NFL executive vice president of operations Ray Anderson warned of the coming actions Monday. 


 The NFL should take action after the long list of shenanigans last Sunday. After being hit in the helmet Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett was hosptialized overnight. Pittsburgh Steelers player James Harrison “knocked two Cleveland Brown players out of the game with head injuries,” according to The Times.

And the topper seems to have been New England’s Brandon Meriweather, who was penalized for his hit on Baltimore’s Todd Heap.

The Times quoted Anderson as saying that the league didn’t want another Darryl Stingley incident on its watch, referring to the New England Patriots player who was paralyzed in a 1978 hit and died in 2007. 

There is even talk of suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits, a suggestion made on-air Sunday by former NFL player Rodney Harrison, who had a reputation as a hard-hitting — even dirty– player during his career. According to The Times,  Harrison said that that suspensions, not fines, “got his attention” when he was playing.

 The NFL competition committee might even consider barring all hits that invovle using a helmet, The Times reported.