Fears of football becomes a reality


On the ground: A Poway player gets tackled by an Mt. Carmel opponent while attempting to score a touchdown in the end zone during the last home game of the regular season.

   It is the fourth quarter of the game with two minutes to go. While the home team is about to make the winning touchdown, the quarterback hands the ball to the running back. He almost makes it into the end zone, but is rammed in the head and falls to the ground, and the crowd gasps.

   Concussion and other serious injuries are all a part of contact sports, but they are especially associated with football. Poway High School takes precautions to minimize the risk of this sport. 

   “The main thing is educating kids on how to hit, and how not to lead with their head. In the last five or six years we’ve become more aware and educated, the people taking care of these kids looking out for certain symptoms,” Athletic Trainer CJ Hernandez said. 

   The effect of concussions can be life changing, which is why they are so serious.

   “With concussions a lot of times there are long-term effects, disorientation, inability to concentrate, balance, vision, and everything connected to your brain can become impaired,” Hernandez said. 

   Once a concussion is confirmed California state policy takes over. “They see the doctor, they get diagnosed, then they go through an eight day return to play protocol, once they finish that they’re able to go back and play,” Hernandez said. 

   According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, high school football has the highest rate of concussion in high school sports with 10.40 per 10 000 athlete exposure (concussions) overall and 33.19 to 39.07 per 10 000 concussions during games.

   Mariana Avila Lopez is a scientist in cancer research and was formerly a physician, she is also the mother of  #29, Aaron Avila Lopez, safety on the varsity football team.

    Avila Lopez has many anxieties about the sport, “Certainly the head and neck injuries. Every tackle I feel like something is going to happen. I went to three games this season and in each one of them there was an ambulance coming in picking up a kid,” Mariana Avila Lopez said. 

   Athletic Director Damian. Gonzalez is also very concerned with student athlete well-being. 

   “To protect athletes, it starts in the off season, being physically ready to play. That training helps to prevent injuries. Also, we have to make sure all of our equipment has been certified, we get it recertified after each season,” Gonzalez said. 

   Football has its inherent risks, but PHS makes an effort to protect its football players, classmates, and friends.