High school football practice is in full force, and games for most teams begin August 31st. However, the Center for Disease Control found that sports concussions in the United States have reached an epidemic level. They are especially increasing in high school sports—football players being most at risk.
Local coaches and the medical community asked the Dothan City School Board to make sports safer.
“To have an athletic trainer at every athletic event,” suggested Marshall Smith, Sports Medicine Director at Southern Bone and Joint.
The pitch included two new athletic trainers at Northview and Dothan High School. Those schools work with Southern Bone and Joint, but doctors are not always on the sidelines during practice or games. New trainers would be on-call, on-scene, and they're already on-board.
“Those athletic trainers would cover events after their work-time of 5:00 p.m.,” said Smith.
The catch is the cost. At $25,000 a pop, the school board would have to cough up fifty grand. Most said it's worth it.
“I think most of the board's in agreement to this. I don't think there’s any, I mean, who wouldn't be in agreement to look after our kids. And I could give you too many horror stories about not having a trainer around,” said Harry Wayne Parrish, Chairman of the Dothan City School Board.
However, there was no contract at the meeting. On paper, safety guidelines didn’t exist, which made some hesitant to vote.
“I'm not ready to vote on it. For us to pass, or agree to enter into a contract without looking at it would be akin to the United States Congress passing a law and when asked what's in it, they say well we have to pass it first before we can tell you what's in it. We read it after we pass it,” explained Chris Maddox, District 2 Board Member.
For now, board members tabled the idea until next week. They will discuss, review, and ultimately, vote on the contract on Monday, August 19th.