WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) The reality of what can happen in football was shocking to fans and viewers everywhere.
So how can high school coaches make it clear to young players without causing undue fear?
Two football players and one assistant coach at Wheeling Park High School shared their opinions Tuesday.
“It is part of sport,” said Tim Ickes, assistant coach. “You hope to never see it happen, never to be involved. But that is a risk that is assumed when you play any sport, really.”
Ickes says a coach needs to reassure young players that what happened to Damar Hamlin was rare, and unlikely to ever happen to them.
One Park player, Keohn Stephens, recalled a frightening experience he had on the field last year.
“I took a big hit to the head,” Stephens said. “I fell to the ground. My whole body got numb. I was coughing up blood. And I was scared ‘cause I thought I’d never play again. The way I was feeling and seeing everybody stop the game, meant a lot to me.”
Seeing the Bills- Bengals game halted was significant to viewers around the nation.
“I was watching it,” said Mikel Davis, junior at Wheeling Park. “It was definitely scary. And I’m glad the NFL forgot about the game and worried about the player’s health more than anything.”
Park’s assistant coach says you can’t focus on avoiding injuries.
“You need to make sure you focus on playing at full speed,” said Ickes. “Because some injuries happen at half speed, when you’re thinking about an injury, ‘Am I going to get hurt,’ that sort of thing. You’ve got to kind of reassure the athletes that they’re going to be safe and they’re going to be fine.”