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Five teens died playing football in last six weeks: Anomaly or trend?

- September 18th, 2013

If there’s any question football rules in the U.S., this should make it crystal clear.

Football fields in America have become killing fields and nobody seems to give a damn.

In a revelatory blog post by Dave Kindred of sportsonearth.com, over the last six weeks or so five football players 16 years old or younger have died while playing football.

Yes, died.

Five teenagers. Playing a game.

Two died from brain injuries, according to Kindred’s post, while the others were a victim of heat stroke, a broken neck and heart failure.

Football player

KTLA broadcast.
(Screen grab)

(As a tragic side note, a 12-year-old died Sept. 11 after suffering an allergic reaction to fire ant bites he received while warming up at halftime for a middle school game in Texas. School district officials didn’t confirm the boy’s death until Tuesday.)

The football-related deaths happened across the country, in places like California (two), Georgia, North Carolina and New York.

Apparently it’s a national epidemic. But judging by the sounds of crickets coming from football organizations in those states, it’s the cost of doing business, so to speak.

Yeah, we expect our kids to get hurt occasionally while playing sports, especially those that involve physical contact. But kids dying on the field? There isn’t a parent out there who expects their child to never come home from the game.

Imagine the hue and cry in this country if five HOCKEY players had died during games or practices.

Even though it’s our national sport (in spirit or otherwise), somebody, somewhere would be stumping to have the game banned for children. Heck, we’ve effectively removed hitting from the younger divisions of hockey and that’s over concussions, not deaths.

Now, as Kindred points out, the recent spate of deaths could be an anomaly.

Or not.

It could also be an upward trend, which is a scary thought.

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3 comments

  1. Greg | September 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

    If you want to compare to hockey, you should probably compare the sizes of the United States and Canada. 5 sports deaths in the United States is equivalent to 1/2 a sports death in Canada.

    I found a study saying that 243 football deaths occurred in a 20 year period (12.2 per year). Bump that up to 12.4 by including this week’s data. Keep in mind that most of these injuries weren’t the result of traumatic hits, but rather for physical exertion (heat illness, asthma, cardiac failure)

    The Canadian equivalent would be 1.24 hockey deaths per year. I think hockey deaths are a little below that, but they do happen. Jordan Boyd died this year, and there is no call to have hockey banned.

    Overall, I find this article to be a bit alarmist.

  2. Dave | September 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Well said, Greg, except I think “alarmist” is being too kind. Football fields have become a “killing field”? That is disgracefully sensationalist hyperbole.

  3. William | September 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    The death from cardiac conditions and heat-stroke has nothing to do with football. Could have been any activity that did them in. Actually, more people die of heat stroke than football. Typical media shmedia shitz, imho.

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