The news that high school football player Evan Murray died shortly after taking a hit during a Friday night game shocked the state and has drawn attention nationwide. The autopsy on the 17- year -old star quarterback revealed he died from a ruptured spleen and has been ruled accidental.
No head trauma. No heart attack. While this doesn’t make his family feel any better, coaches and football fans are breathing in relief—the sport at least can’t be blamed.
Murray, a three-season scholar athlete who also played basketball and baseball, may have been suffering from the lacerated spleen for a while. The hit to his stomach during a football play aggravated the injury and led to his death.
Ok. I’m not a doctor. But perhaps, had he not been playing football, he might have been saved. He had been showing signs of “wooziness” and slow movement. Maybe he was displaying symptoms and ignored them—I know how athletes think. One of my sons ignored a wrist ache after wrestling – by the time he said it bothered him, he needed a bone graft. He could have escaped surgery with a few weeks in an ace bandage.
It’s time to ban football. Not just in high school. But every level, from little ones through college. The reports of concussions, long sustained head injuries and so on continue to grab headlines yet no actions are taken.
I’ve been grumbling a lot about football in New Jersey to my husband. I hate that my state taxes support Rutgers University football, a team that has been embroiled in controversies ranging from corrupt coaches to criminal players.
Other sports can replace football. Road cycling, for one. Yes, I’m biased. Fans watching a race can get as excited as football fans at a game. Not that cycling is without scandal; Lance Armstrong showed he could pop steroids among the best of them.
But very few people die from bike racing. Or rowing. Or even hockey and wrestling. Or swimming. And the list goes on.
It’s time to turn football stadiums into velodromes.