Coaches must take precautions to keep athletes alive and healthy

Caroline Margle, Staff Columnist

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Sports have been around since the beginning of time. Although they are drastically different from the sporting events once held in ancient Greek Olympic games, they have always been a way for athletes to show their talent, represent their team and strive to win that envied gold medal.

With the evolution of sports and the rise of intense competition, universities around the nation go on annual hunts to recruit the best of the best to represent their schools. With this drive for pure perfection and high levels of peer competition, coaches and staff members will push their athletes to great extents, sometimes even fatal ones.

When one discusses sports, fatality has never been the word to come to mind until recently. As unfortunate as it may be, athletes have been pushed to go past the limits their bodies can physically handle. With high temperatures, dehydration, aching muscles and many other factors, athletes are at serious risk if they are not permitted to take frequent breaks.

On the field, court or mat, coaches have the final say as to what is expected of the athletes at practices. Ranging from a series of drills and exercises with little time to rest in between, athletes face a serious threat to their health and overall well-being.

Placing restrictions on coaches at the collegiate level has been a highly debated topic in the past year, especially since the heart-wrenching passing of 19-year-old Jordan McNair. McNair died in the summer of 2018 due to heat illness that was not taken seriously or treated correctly. According to CNN, the Maryland college football player was improperly cared for which ultimately led to his passing. The university has come to accept legal and moral responsibility for the recklessness of the coaching staff.

The life of a young adult with a bright and promising future ahead of him was taken too soon due to simple carelessness and a drive for perfection that was pushed too hard. McNair’s fatal case is just one of many examples that show why coaches need to set restrictions prior to practice season. A simple change in the length of breaks, the amount of water distributed to athletes and a realization that athletes are still just human beings with certain needs could ultimately save a life and the overall existence of sports.