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3 deaths in 1 week: How risky is high school football?

Published: Friday, October 03, 2014 @ 3:52 PM
Updated: Friday, October 03, 2014 @ 3:52 PM

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A 16-year-old high school football player died Wednesday following an on-field collision.

Tom Cutinella was a junior at Shoreham-Wading River High School. He was pronounced dead after collapsing during the third quarter of a varsity football game.  But school officials say football is not to blame.

STEVEN COHEN, Shoreham-Wading Superintendent WNBC: "It was the result of a typical football play.  It was just a freak accident."

Cutinella's death is the third death of a high school football player due to football-related injuries in a week.  Demario Harris Jr. of Troy, Alabama, died Friday after being tackled. That same day, Isaiah Langston of Rolesville High School collapsed and died during pre-game warm-ups.

That certainly makes for an eye-catching headline. But let's look at the overall numbers behind school football deaths.

In a 2013 study, The American Journal of Sports Medicine found football-related fatalities in high school and college average 12.2 per year.  That is about one in every 100,000 participants. Fatalities are most commonly from indirect causes, such as heat illness and cardiac failure. College football players are also 2.8 times more likely to suffer fatal injury than high schoolers.

And the popularity of college football may be an issue here. The New York Times paraphrases Kate Carr, president and chief executive of Safe Kids Worldwide, as saying that "some of the intense culture of professional and collegiate football is trickling down to the high school level."

Some school districts have instituted stricter practice and equipment guidelines in response to evidence that deaths have increased since 1994.

According to a study in the International Journal of Biometeorology, deaths from heat-related injuries nearly tripled from 1994 to 2009. Researchers said some of the increase may be explained by higher temperatures during practice times and an increase in average BMI among football players, though those are only a couple of possible factors.

Students and teammates held a candlelight vigil for Cutinella on the school's football field Thursday.  Cutinella's grandfather told The New York Times that even though there are risks associated with football, he would never ask his grandsons to quit playing.


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High school football player ejected after body-slamming opponent

Published: Saturday, September 30, 2017 @ 11:53 AM

Jennifer Marr/Freeimages
(Jennifer Marr/Freeimages)

A high school football player was ejected Friday night after he body-slammed a player from the opposing team to the ground.

A video clip that captured the wrestling move was posted on Twitter.

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The game was between Gibbs High School and Sevier County. After a play, a player from Sevier County picked up a Gibbs player and body-slammed him to the ground.

The player who ended up on the ground was not injured, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

The player who committed the infraction was ejected and by rule, will have to sit out the next game.

Sevier County's coach told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that his player lost his composure, and that the game had been physical on both sides.

Gibbs came away with the victory, beating Sevier County 42-24

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High School Football: Five games to watch in Week 6

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 5:41 PM

            Wayne QB Rashad McKee unloads a pass while Fred Pitts blocks. Wayne defeated host Centerville 45-8 in a GWOC National East Division Week 6 game on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Wayne QB Rashad McKee unloads a pass while Fred Pitts blocks. Wayne defeated host Centerville 45-8 in a GWOC National East Division Week 6 game on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

We’re at the halfway point of the high school football regular season.

Here are five games to watch in Week 6:

Centerville at Wayne

You always circle this one on the calendar, but this year could be really special.

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»RELATED: Week 5 recap

»RELATED: Last week’s power rankings

The undefeated Elks have answered every challenge through the first five weeks. The Warriors have bounced back from a season-opening loss with four straight wins, though they were pushed to double overtime before prevailing at Northmont last week.

The Warriors have won the last two games in the series, 45-8 and 56-17.

Miamisburg at Fairmont

A couple of teams coming off losses last week. For the Firebirds, it was their first of the season when they failed to find the end zone at Beavercreek.

Meanwhile, Miamisburg is riding a two-game losing streak with successive losses to Wayne and Troy.

Covington at Miami East

The Vikings made a huge statement on the road last week, scoring 50 points at previously unbeaten Bethel.

After starting the season on a three-game skid, Covington has won back-to-back games. The Buccs are showing signs of once again being a contender in the Cross County Conference race.

This is the Touchdown 7 Arbys Game of the Week .

Valley View at Bellbrook

Unbeaten Valley View scooped up a boatload of playoff points with a convincing 34-3 win at home against Franklin last week.

The Spartans will have to do more than just show up at Bellbrook. The Golden Eagles have won four in a row after a season-opening loss.

Anna at Marion Local

Just another battle of unbeaten in the Midwest Athletic Conference, but this time it’s the final two unbeaten teams in the toughest league in the state.

Marion Local hasn’t been scoring a lot of points this season, but the Flyers defense has held four of their five opponents to less than 10 points.

Anna is averaging 40 points per game.

Make sure you join us for all of the Week 6 action on Touchdown 7 on Friday at 11:13 p.m. on WHIO-TV.

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Mole crickets prompt officials to move Florida high school football game

Published: Saturday, August 26, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

File image of mole cricket.
DEA / M. GIOVANOLI/De Agostini/Getty Images
File image of mole cricket.(DEA / M. GIOVANOLI/De Agostini/Getty Images)

A bug problem has ruined the football field at a Florida high school, prompting this week’s game to be played elsewhere.

Friday's game at Satellite High School in Brevard County against Eau Gallie High School was moved to Melbourne High School.

Officials said the problems were caused by mole crickets, a common turf grass pest.

The school district said it saw signs of the mole crickets in the spring and they did a preventative treatment.

Over the summer, the school installed new track and sprinklers were shut off.

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Parents in the Touchdown Club, a booster group for the football team, said they expressed concerns about doing that so close to football season.

They said they saw brown spots on the field last month. A turf expert from a golf course came out to look at it and said it's the worst case of mole crickets he had ever seen, parents said.

“My heart breaks, and I feel bad for the senior football players. (They) played in this program for four years and potentially might not have a home game,” said parent Bert Gamin.

The district said by that point, there were adult mole crickets that are very hard to get rid of and more treatments failed. The non-native insects tunnel underground and eat the roots and shoots of the grass. The district said the field was too dangerous for a game, so the game had to be moved. The district has been rolling out new dirt so they can, at some point, try to grow new grass.

Next week, there is another home game. The plan is to play on an all-dirt field, district officials said.

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High school football star practicing with ankle monitor, booted from practice

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 1:29 PM

Boca Raton High School football player Shelley Singletary is pictured here at a game in Sept. of 2016. He’s practicing at spring training this week wearing an ankle monitor after his arrest in January on robbery charges. 
Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post
Boca Raton High School football player Shelley Singletary is pictured here at a game in Sept. of 2016. He’s practicing at spring training this week wearing an ankle monitor after his arrest in January on robbery charges. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

A South Florida high school student, who is facing a felony charge, will not be allowed to take part in spring football practice while wearing an ankle monitor after school officials read a newspaper story about it online.

A judge’s order had allowed Shelley Singletary to participate in spring practices, as well as attend classes at Boca Raton High School, and the 18-year-old apparently was set to practice Monday in the team’s first season practice.

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But hours after a story on Singletary was published, Boca Raton High principal Susie King informed the school’s football staff that Singletary could not take part in any team functions until his criminal court case is resolved.

School officials apparently were not aware that Singletary had been cleared to practice until they read the story by the Palm Beach Post.

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Singletary, 18, is accused of a robbery in January during which he allegedly forcibly removed an 11-year-old’s Air Jordan sneakers and tried to steal his bicycle.

Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer modified the terms of Singletary’s house arrest on March 16 allowing him to practice, but only if he wears an ankle monitor.

“The student has been cleared by a judge to participate in activities,” according to a statement released by the Palm Beach County School District. “However, he has not been cleared by Boca Raton Community High School to practice or be part of the school’s football team. At this time, he is in no way affiliated with the team or the spring season.”

Singletary, who will be a junior in the next school year, will be allowed to continue attending classes.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

Singletary, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound running back and defensive back, is ranked by MaxPreps, a college football recruiting website, as the state’s No. 193 prospect.

The University of Kentucky has reportedly offered Singletary a football scholarship for 2018, according to 24/7 Sports, but NCAA rules prohibit schools from publicly discussing recruits until they sign letters of intent.

Singletary could not be reached for comment.

Court records show that his next court appearance is scheduled for June 19.

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