As the 2015 high school football season heads into the final weeks of the schedule with the big rivalry games looming on Thanksgiving, is it time that Congress takes a look at the mounting death toll of teenagers playing what is supposed to be a sport for recreation?
On Wednesday, a Kansas high school football player, 17 year old Luke Schemm was taken off life support at a Denver hospital and passed away. Schemm is thought to be the 11th high school football player to have died this year from injuries suffered playing the game. At some point, there will be an explanation from medical officials as to what happened to Schemm but there seems to be an epidemic taking place in high schools which is largely going ignored. Why have 11 high school football players died this fall? And why is it being accepted by society? This is not a new question as President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the very issue in 1905 after 40 reported deaths over a two year period occurred from injuries suffered on the college football field.
President Roosevelt is credited with using the bully pulpit of the Oval Office to make the game safer by forcing college presidents to enact safety measures or the game would have been banned. No one actually could figure out how Roosevelt could end the game because he couldn’t but just the threat of a ban was enough to get changes in playing rules to make the game safer. The Roosevelt initiative would eventually lead to the formation of the NCAA. Today there seems to be really no push to find out what is happening on the high school football fields and whether or not there is enough being done to protect children from fatal injuries playing just a game. Perhaps there needs to be some leadership in Washington tackling the issue of children facing death and injuries playing football in high school.
I’m Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner