Child injuries not considered serious, coaches suspended

Ellie Hawkins  Journal Staff

Five children missed numerous days of school and not one has come back to the field to play football. These five children suffered concussions at a pee wee football game on September 15.

The game was Tantasqua Pee Wees versus Southbridge Pop Warner. Two of the players from Tantasqua were hit so hard they had to be pulled off the field. After six more plays, a third player from the Tantasqua team was pulled off of the field.

The game ended at 58-0 with two more boys being pulled off the field. The boys that had been injured were between the ages of 10-12 and weighed no more than 120 pounds. Mercy rules were ignored when the score was 28-0. At this designated score, Pop Warner regulations require the officials to apply mercy rules to the game.

Since five of Tantasqua’s players were out of the game the team did not have enough players. Other kids who were hit just as hard might not have wanted to show they were hurt so they continued to play.

Medical reports have indicated that playing with undiagnosed concussions increases the risk of more serious damage. Staff members with emergency medical training examined the injured children during the game, but did not consider their conditions serious enough to need more medical attention. Since the concussions were not diagnosed until after the game, the children continued to play.

After a meeting on Thursday, discussions took place in regards to the coaches, the association presidents, and the three game officials. The coaches were suspended for the rest of the season with probation in 2013, the presidents were placed on probation through 2013, and the three game officials are banned by Central Massachusetts Pop Warner.

Obviously these pee wee players wanted to play their hearts out during this football game, but officials should know when things are going too far. The officials, coaches, and parents should know the regulations and when they need to be applied. People might say that every athlete is prone to get hurt at some point in their athletic career, but when rules and regulations are not followed it only makes the sport even more dangerous.

Everyone that plays a sport wants to have fun and become victorious. This may not happen at every game that one plays. I believe that the rules and regulations should be followed and if there is any concern about someone being injured they should not be sent back out into the game.

There are many ways to know if someone has become injured due to a concussion. The Mayo Clinic says that not all concussions are visible right when they happen. Symptoms can take some time to develop, but once they have they can last for days, weeks, or even months.

Some symptoms include headache or a feeling of pressure in the head, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion or feeling as if in a fog, amnesia surrounding the traumatic event, dizziness or “seeing stars,” ringing in the ears,  nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, and/or fatigue. These will show up in an adult who has suffered a brain injury.

Concussions are different for adolescents. Concussions in young children do not show, but these are signs to look for in young children: listlessness, tiring easily, irritability, crankiness, change in eating or sleeping patterns, lack of interest in favorite toys, and/or loss of balance, unsteady walking.

One cannot always prevent accidents or sports injuries, but now at least you will know the symptoms. Just make sure that if the rules are not being followed, speak up to prevent someone from being hurt.

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