We must do everything we can do to minimize serious injuries in school sports; but because the benefits of school sports participation are so universal and serious injuries so unusual, we should accompany our continuing campaigns for safety with constant appeals for common sense.
It is a compliment to school sports that each and every one of the very rare number of school sports-related deaths carries with it great sorrow and scrutiny. Nationwide there are so few tragedies that schools treat all of them with tenderness; and we try to learn from each of them how to have fewer of them.
But the attention we give to increased safety should not outshout the safety record we already have in school sports, especially compared to activities that lead to far more deaths with far less attention. For example, each year . . .
- 20 skateboarding deaths;
- 40 skiing deaths;
- 400 youth drownings; and
- 700 bicycling deaths.
Compared to school sports, these numbers are epidemics; and compared to school sports, these epidemics are ignored.
Our world is not bubble wrapped, nor should it be. School sports is not 100 percent injury-free, nor can it be. We should work to make school sports still safer, and work almost as hard to explain how safe school sports already is.