Are physicals adequate?

Published 11:31 am Saturday, September 17, 2011

We grieve with the community over the death of Southampton High School student and football player Brian Rushing.

The loss of a child, under any circumstances, is a loss no family should ever be forced to deal with. We extend our deepest sympathies, along with prayers for comfort and healing to his family and all who knew and loved him.

As with any tragic event, we seek to learn from what has transpired to better guard against similar events recurring in the future. Brian Rushing suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition, which, had it been detected, would certainly have precluded his participation in almost any sport, let alone one as physically demanding and punishing to the human body as football.

Other tragedies similar to this have occurred across the country where high school athletes with undetected heart ailments have died on the field.

Participation in high school sports requires a preliminary physical that deems them to be physically fit and clears the athlete to play. Yet in this case, and unfortunately in many others as well, the preseason physical clearly failed to indicate a serious underlying health issue.

Which leads us to wonder if the physicals being performed are adequate enough that we should reasonably expect such health conditions be identified. If they are, then we are left to deal with such events as random occurrences for which there is little explanation or opportunity for prevention.

If not, we call on those in a position to effect such change to adopt new standards, which we hope would lead to the prevention of such tragedies in the future.