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A 5-Concussion Pee Wee Game Leads to Penalties for the Adults
Article here. So you wonder where boys learn that they're utterly dispensable? Easy enough. They learn it from their parents, who stand around and do nothing (or are complicit) while they get their heads bashed in playing a game their bodies aren't nearly ready for. After all, if a 23-YO man in the prime of life, bulging with muscles and wearing a padded helmet, can suffer a serious concussion that leaves him unintelligible when he's 40, what do you suppose happens to 10-year-olds when they get their heads bashed in? Excerpt:
'It took just one play on Sept. 15 to suggest the game between the Southbridge Pop Warner pee wees and their rivals, the Tantasqua Braves, could mean trouble. Two Tantasqua players were hit so hard that their coach pulled them off the field. An emergency medical technician on the sidelines evaluated the boys, grew worried that they might have concussions, and had them take their pads off.
The boys on the teams were as young as 10, and, because of rules about safety, none could weigh more than 120 pounds. Shortly after 3 p.m. at McMahon Field in Southbridge, though, things quickly became worse. Six plays into the game, another Brave was removed after a hard hit. An official with the Tantasqua team said the eyes of one of the boys were rolling back in his head.
But the game, an obvious mismatch between teams from neighboring towns in central Massachusetts, went on, with Southbridge building a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. The game went on without the officials intervening. It went on despite the fact that the Braves, with three of their players already knocked out of the game, no longer had the required number of players to participate.
Even with what are known as “mercy rules” — regulations designed to limit a dominant team’s ability to run up scores — the touchdowns kept coming, and so did the concussions. When the game ended, the final score was 52-0, and five preadolescent boys had head injuries, the last hurt on the final play of the game.
The coaches, at the game’s conclusion, shook hands, and then the Southbridge team, with a military flourish, marched off the field in pairs.
Late last week, league officials suspended the coaches for both teams for the rest of the season. The referees who oversaw the game were barred from officiating any more contests in the Central Massachusetts Pop Warner league, and the presidents of both programs were put on probation.
“We were trying to play a football game,” one parent of a Tantasqua player wrote in an e-mail. “Every kid who was out there wanted to play and not give up.”'
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