Injury report likely invalid due to lack of reporting by coaches
EVERETT - A district review of how many players are getting hurt on the football practice field at Cascade High School revealed that coaches are likely under-reporting injuries.
The Everett School District did the injury analysis in the hopes it would put parents’ concerns about the safety of Cascade field to rest.
District athletic director Robert Polk found just three injuries in a five-year analysis of injury records of Cascade football players.
That seems low for a contact sport like football, Polk said. And if coaches are not reporting everything, that could get the district in trouble with their insurance pool, he said.
At least one known injury, the broken tibia and rolled ankle revealed by player Nathan Elliot, 16, is not on the list.
Elliot said he was injured after another player fell on him during a practice session. Elliot was out for weeks, he said.
His mother, Gretchen Weiss-Elliot, believes the field is unsafe to practice on. She is among a handful of parents that want the district to replace the field immediately. Parents suggest a high number of injuries are happening on the practice field because of the condition of the field.
Polk and district officials say the field is safe, but the report’s validity may cloud that assurance with parents.
The Cascade Bruins, like all other high school football teams in Everett play their home games at Everett Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
Polk checked the reported injuries and found three: one head injury on the practice field, one injury at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium and a third injury when players collided during an ultimate Frisbee game.
“The bottom line is our fields are safe and we are not putting kids at risk,” Polk said in summing up the report last week.
The low figures in the report’s findings probably makes the report invalid, Polk told the Tribune.
“That’s why I have to investigate,” Polk said.
Polk said he doesn’t think the coaches are withholding information on injuries, though.
The field was replaced in 1991 when most of Cascade High School was replaced, and the district made small improvements in 2000.
The district estimates it would cost $1.6 million to replace the field with artificial turf.
District officials say the field will not be replaced unless voters approve a bond in 2014, and constructing the new field wouldn’t happen until 2015. The district is spending $1.2 million to replace the tracks at Jackson and Cascade high schools after public outcry over the condition of the tracks.
The district could accept funds raised by the community for a new practice field, Polk said.
Parents have criticized the district for putting aside millions of dollars toward a new administration building for employees. In a special vote, the school board approved the $23 million administration building.
Polk’s report to the school board was during an “informational” session on the agenda, and neither board members nor the public were allowed to respond right after Polk’s presentation.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published March 21, 2012