A prospective school board member in Clark County, Nev., is running on a platform to take football out of the district's high schools. The Clark County School Board, which includes Las Vegas, is the fifth-largest of its kind in the nation, and would be the first of its kind to take football out of schools.
Russell Davis, a veteran of the Nevada political scene, has forwarded the argument on the basis that football falls under the same umbrella as sex, tobacco and military service -- that minors do not have the faculties to make that decision for themselves. Davis says he's not anti-football; he just wants it out of schools.
“This decision doesn’t come lightly because I am a fan of football,” Davis told USA Today. “High school football in the small town in Nevada where I grew up was the biggest thing to do on a Friday night. It pains me, but I believe it’s the right thing to do.
“I believe the human brain is not designed to play football. The brain does not have an airbag between the brain and the skull. There is no equipment to protect the brain and especially the developing brain.”
He has also called for removing headers from soccer and installing strict concussion training and protocol. For instance, he would ban Clark County schools from competing against private schools or public schools outside the district that do not employ the same protocol he advocates.
Davis has worked to arrange meetings between Clark County officials and the Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund to supply each school with $973,000 to purchase Concussion Goggles, which simulate the symptoms of the concussion. The Duerson Fund, it's worth noting, does not advocate banning minors from football.
Local high school coach Rich Muraco argued his program has already taken steps necessary to make the game as safe as possible.
“We’ve taken steps to insure the safety of the kids as far as the equipment that they have, the helmets are way safer than 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Muraco told USA Today. “The way we teach tackling and the way we run our practices are different. We hardly ever go 100% live in practice. We go more with ‘thud’ and teach kids to get their head out of the tackle. We’ve gone to the rugby-style tackling that Pete Caroll has advocated with the Seattle Seahawks.”
Davis is one of four candidates competing for Clark County's District C seat. The primary election is scheduled for June 14.
“Some of the groups we talked to are upset and other groups when you talk to them, they understand. People will say, ‘No, I wouldn’t let my kid play football.’ ” he said. “This community is going to go through a good debate on this issue and I think a good public debate on this issue is needed. It’s time to move this from the medical arena and out into the public arena and include teachers, administrators at school district and the parents of kids playing sports.”
(HT USA Today)