Forrest Jones was a burly, 235-pound lineman whose life was cut short when he overheated during a voluntary workout for the upcoming high school football season. His body cooked, his organs shut down and he passed away Tuesday after trying futilely to hang on for just over a week in the hospital.
Tragically, he’s not alone. In just the past week, three other high school players across the South have died in a record-breaking heat wave. Plus, an assistant coach in Texas succumbed to blistering temperatures that have regularly topped 100 degrees. Enough’s enough. It’s time for everyone — kids and coaches alike — to lose the macho attitude.
Quite true. Don’t let your child become a corpse simply for the sake of a sport. It isn’t worth it.
We all know football is a tough game played by tough people. That’s not going to change. Heck, we wouldn’t have it any other way. But there’s nothing wrong with sitting out the next play, nothing wrong with taking an extra sip of water.
Forrest Jones would probably be alive today if he’d taken that message to heart. “He showed the signs. He needed to tell ’em, ‘I’m tired,'” his father said. “We really need to get across to these kids that it doesn’t make them a weak person to tell the coach you’re tired and you need a break. It makes you a better person.”
But attitudes are always the most resistant to change. The day before Forrest Jones died, high schools across Georgia officially started football practice in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record. Who knows how many kids felt nauseous or lightheaded but just played their way through it?
If you feel sick, kids, sit down for a while in the shade, drink a bottle of water, and tell someone you aren’t well. For your health’s sake and potentially for your life’s sake.
Parents, you owe it to your children to read every line of the essay linked to above.