Injury fear keeps football moms on edge of seats

By By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Sitting on the edge of her seat, Patty Victory watches each bone-crunching tackle, or teeth-rattling block any given Friday

night has to offer.

She is thrilled by the action and intensity, enjoys watching her sons compete for the Westlake High football team and loves

the community atmosphere surrounding her in the stands.


Victory is still a mom, so the one thing she wants to see more than anything else is everybody get up from the pile after

each play.

“Of course you worry about them and all the boys,” Victory said. “We (parents) talk about it all the time.”

Injuries have always been a part of football, in many ways they have been a badge of courage. Often you would hear terms like

“he gutted it out after getting dinged up,” or “he’s a real warrior the way he bounced back from that hit.”

Not so much these days. There is growing concern over football injuries and their long-term effects on the players. Most of

that is concern over head, spine or neck injuries.

Victory has two sons currently playing

for Westlake and another who graduated in 2009. They have suffered

through their share

of twisted ankles, broken bones and swollen muscles. None have

been seriously hurt, but that doesn’t keep a mother from worrying.

“You don’t want to think about that but you have to,” said Victory. “The hardest part is when they are slow getting up, or

wobble when they get up. That’s when a giant lump gets caught in your throat.

“You can’t help but think about it then.”

Lately, there has been greater talk of the damage football can do to a body. Some parents have said they would not let their

kids play anymore. That is not the case in the Victory house.

“I think sports is very imporant,” Victory said. “Sports teaches a lot of life’s lessons. You don’t want to say it is worth

the risk, but you have to understand injuries are part of the game.”

Victory should know, she is a registered nurse and has seen more than her share of injuries.

“I believe that what is meant to happen will happen,” she said. “If you are going to get paralyzed it might happen to you

when you step off a curb or in a car accient. If it is meant to happen it will happen.”

Still, she is encouraged by the fact that over the years she has seen a greater emphesis put on a player’s health.

There were no preseason two-a-day practices at Westlake this summer. Every quarter games before October have forced water

breaks and players are not allowed to go back in if they suffer any type of head trauma.

All these changes have helped to make the game safer, she said.

“Over the years we have become aware of injuires more and more and done things to try and prevent them,” said Victory. “Kids

are still going to get hurt, but we are now better prepared to prevent serious injuries and we know better what to do when

they happen.”

So this weekend, moms from all over will once again gather to watch their children play football.

While they will all await the thrill of the next big hit, they will also hold their breath until everybody returns safely

back to the huddle.

It’s the way mothers watch football now, sitting on two edges of the seat.