by Max Brantley
I'm sorry to say I had a conflict and couldn't watch the Frontline Tuesday night on high school football that prominently featured a couple of private school football powerhouses in Arkansas, Shiloh Christian and Pulaski Academy. I believe you can still watch it on-line here.
I'd be interested in reviews.
UPDATE: A comment follows from a follower of Arkansas high school sports.
FROM LUKE MATHESON
I was involved with this documentary, along with other employees of ArkansasVarsity.com, and I would be more than happy to speak with you with my thoughts on the show.
I will give a few cliff notes on why I think it was a shoddy piece of work, and a one-sided agenda:
For starters, you have a gentleman saying that all of these schools have 300 pound linemen. In fact he said all of their linemen at 300 pounds. That is not factual. I'd certainly like to see these schools if true.
Secondly, they talked about the Purdue University study, and said that HSFB players take more and harder hits than NCAA players. Where are the facts to back that claim up? It was not presented in the show. They said two high schools were tested. Which colleges were tested and why was this not shown?
They also said in the same study that 20% of the players studied showed a decrease in their cognitive scores and were NOT diagnosed with a concussion during the season.
What they did not tell you, is that according to Schutt Helmets who has been involved with a lot of this research is that nearly 20% of the players also showed an INCREASE in their cognitive score and were not diagnosed with a concussion. Also, of all the players who tested worse in their cognition but were not diagnosed with a concussion, all of them returned to their baseline score by the next season. Again, this according to Schutt Helmets.
Also, according to Schutt, they made it out like there are more deaths due to head injuries. There are far fewer deaths in football now than 40 years ago. Helmets played a part in that.
The show stated that there is no national federation to address things regarding high school sports much like college has the NCAA, NAIA, etc. That is also false. High schools must abide by the National Federation of State High School Association rules and regulations.
At the end of the day, with all of these 'facts' and 'studies' they presented, why were no solutions offered to help combat the issues which do need to be addressed?
The lack of definitive proof of their claims and the lack of solutions makes me feel as if this was a one-sided, agenda driven piece which is being used as a scare tactic.
This is just my honest opinion.