Playing Without A Safety Net

Schools generally believe their safety regulations are up to code. With a seemingly endless stream of fire drills, safety in our labs, or lockdown procedures within the building, our schools take pride in following proper protocol and keeping students safe. However, when it comes to safety regulations in some everyday activities, especially in regards to sports, sometimes students’ safety is compromised.  

Here the nets are slack between the polls, allowing for errant shots to leave the playing field.

Athletes know that with participation comes risks and inevitable accidents. But they also know to take precaution to protect themselves, as should their school in terms of equipment provided and supervision present. Most athletes have had their share of minor to severe fractures, tears, twists, and sprains. Likewise, the school also knows that to protect athletes, adequate equipment and supervision must be provided. While no one ever plans to get hurt, the unavoidable risk is present in the course of these activities. Yet at recent events, Oceanside High School’s students have been injured because of poor safety conditions and made prone to dangerous situations. Situations which could and should have been avoided.

Just a few weeks ago, a track and field runner was escorted off the field after a lacrosse ball passed the safety nets and collided with a player’s face, whose jaw was broken in the process. This incident could have been avoided if only the black nets lining the lacrosse field were at the appropriate height. According to former girls lacrosse coach Mr. Dwyer, who has been involved in the sport scene for a total of 16 years, “the nets are typically effective and do their intended purpose;” however, there are certainly gaps. He explains, “I know of incidents that have happened” and though the nets have been in place for a long time, “they’ve been blown down from the wind and in disrepair.” As a result of traveling to other school districts for games, Dwyer additionally noted that other schools had protective netting around their entire field, something we don’t have the luxury of having here at OHS.

 

A close examination reveals a sizable hole in the net.

An ample amount of questions can be raised in the wake of this mishap, but the most pressing is if it can happen again and to what extreme? Last season another errant lacrosse ball found the head of another track and field athlete instead of the back of the net, which resulted in a concussion. Case in point. These are just two of the most recent serious injuries. This does not include some other incidents that ended with bumps and bruises. These are harbingers that should be noticed because logic would dictate that more serious injuries are to follow if no precautions are taken.

Mr. Gillis, coach of the boys varsity lacrosse team, also brought attention to the faulty nets lining the field. After confronting the school regarding the numerous incidents of athletes getting hit , Gillis has confirmed that “new nets are to be ordered this year.” The notion to improve netting may have been a slightly delayed process, but bringing attention to the conditions that exist on our own turf is imperative for the safety of the students.