2013 high school football season deadliest in 27 years

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by Elizabeth Eisele/ KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 15 at 7:06 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Missouri High School Officials are worried about the increasing number of head injuries to football players.

Authorities attribute seven deaths this year to playing high school football, making 2013 the deadliest year since 1986.

After 36 years of coaching football at McCluer North High School, Jim Schottmueller has called it quits.

He said he has seen his share of football injuries, but he still says football is a great sport for kids.

Earlier this week, 17-year-old Chad Stover from Tipton, Missouri, died after suffering a brain injury from what was described as a “jarring hit.”

Then a star running back in Arizona suffered a hard hit to the head during the game and then collapsed and died only a few snaps later.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) does recommend having some type of medical service at football games.

Tony Breitbach, Director of the Athletic Training Education Program at SLU, said high schools need athletic trainers at every game and every practice.

“Why would you subject your son or daughter to a risky activity without having an appropriate medical provider there,” Breitbach asked, “We are the athlete’s advocate. That’s who we take care of.”

Breitbach said athletic trainers look at games differently from coaches and parents. He said they watch player after a hard play for anything abnormal in their movements.

“If someone is unsteady on their feet, they got to come out of the game,” said Breitbach, “It can’t be, ‘Well, we’ll give them another play to see if the cobwebs come out.’ No, take them out of the game.”

Breitbach said there are too many schools without athletic trainers on their staff.

Shottmueller said McCluer North has an athletic trainer at every practice and every game.

“We have doctors and trainers on the sideline,” Shottmueller said, “And once we take them out we can’t put them back in until they say this person is ready to go.”

Both Breitbach and Shottmueller agree injuries are a part of the sport and always will be. They also said there is more emphasis on safety than ever before with better equipment, better coaching and better medical help available. 

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