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Bob Lobel: The Toll of HS Playoffs on Student Athletes

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

 

Bob Lobel, GoLocalWorcester Sports Contributor

I'm certain I would have loved to play lacrosse in high school.

Unfortunately, I never got that opportunity growing up in the grasslands of Ohio. My closest neighbors were Amish, and I never knew their names. Recently I went back for a class reunion.

My closest neighbors would still be Amish, I still would not know their names and, half a century later, I still have not played a high school lacrosse match. Some opportunities are just not meant to be.

I did, however, have a love/hate relationship with high school football under the real Friday night lights. I loved it so much that I wanted to be a high school football coach, just like the one I had. But I hated it for what it did to me physically.

Not becoming a high school coach was not such a crushing blow, because I would go on to do other things I would never regret. Physically, I was still able to run a marathon, but we all know the issues that take their toll over the years, and we can't escape them, no matter how hard we try.

So much has been said over the past year or two about high school sports injuries. Concussions seem to be the hot button issue that has more parents and physical therapists interacting these days than ever before. It's almost like concussions never happened until these latest findings came along.

Of course they did, but how many did we catch, how often were they repeated and how did we measure the severity of these injuries? Too much information? I don't think so!

By the time you read this on GoLocalWorcester this morning, 76 high school football teams throughout the Commonwealth, and 12 in Central Mass, will have played a midweek game, with all the winners going on to their respective Super Bowls this Saturday.

Those winners get the dubious privilege of playing two brutal football games in only five days time.

If it were acceptable to play more than one high school football game in a week, given the nature of the sport and injury factor, why would we not have done that the whole season? That would double the games!

If you can't answer that, then answer me why it is okay to do that this week? Why do we do it? To fit the schedule for the playoffs and preserve traditional Thanksgiving Day games? We want to have it all, but it comes at a cost.

I can't begin to say what the cost is now, or what it will eventually be. It just seems to me that this is a crazy way to do things. I would rather have a whole season of lacrosse than this November/December madness of 76 games on a Tuesday night.

More is not always better. Sometimes different is.

 

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