N.C. high school football team ends season over injuriesEast Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina is ending its football season early after injuries decimated its active roster.
The school announced Thursday that it would forfeit the last two games of the season, finishing 0-11 for the first time since 2008.From the News Observer:
Ray Hartsfield, athletics director at East Chapel Hill, announced the varsity forfeits in an email sent to members of the Piedmont Athletics Conference and others.
“The bottom line for us is a safety issue,” Hartsfield said in the email. “The numbers we have on the team – and the age group which was left still out there playing – has made it clear to us that a decision had to be made on whether we should continue playing football this school year. After much thought and soul-searching and making sure that we explored all avenues… we have decided to forfeit the final two games on our schedule to Hillside HS (Oct. 31) and Jordan (Nov. 7).
“We apologize to both those schools and the entire conference as well, but feel strongly that the most paramount concern had to be the safety of the remaining young men in our program. We are starting now with a plan to get our program ready for returning to play in 2015.”
This isn’t the ideal way to end the season, but protecting young student-athletes takes precedence over a meaningless victory. The school had already discontinued its junior varsity team for the year, so it’s crucial that the young players on the varsity squad be given ample time to adjust to bigger and faster competition. The coach also must be given time to get them up to speed.
This has been a particularly tough year for high schools, and the New York Times published an insightful piece this week about the injuries that are plaguing football teams.
East Chapel Hill made a tough decision, but in the end it was the right one.