Earlier this week we had the cautionary tale of Lane Kiffin, who is being sued (alongside USC) by former player Brian Bauchum for allegedly forcing him to play while knowing he was ill.
Now comes the cautionary tale of Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Md., where the staff inadvertently turned a problem from bad to worse. The staff suspected one player had contracted a staph infection, and sprayed down the locker room in an attempt to eradicate the issue before it swallowed the entire team. Problem was, they used the wrong cleaning agent (Virex II 256), and a number of players suffered first- and second-degree burns in the process.
From the Washington Post:
“In an effort to be proactive and do the right thing by kids, we messed up,” said Springbrook principal SamRivera. “We made some serious mistakes with how the material was used.”
The label on the Virex II 256 states the chemicals inside can cause irreversible skin burns, and to make matters worse, the staff did not inform parents of the issue and their ill-advised clean-up effort. (The paper notes that building services was responsible for sanitizing the locker room.)
Several players started showing evidence of burned skin during practice on Sept. 16, and a number had to seek medical attention after the three-hour practice, but head coach Adam Bahr did not realize there was a serious problem until the morning of Sept. 17.
The Blue Devils' Sept. 19 game was rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 22, which Springbrook lost 56-6 after a number of varsity players missed due to lingering burn issues.
Needless to say, the school has a mess on its hands - with a number of parents considering a lawsuit.
We have no insight on the particulars of this case, but it sounds as if the school can spread blame from top to bottom. The lesson, though, remains the same: health issues are always an extremely serious matter, and always, always rely upon your experts.