We’ve seen player safety become increasingly important in football and rules adopted in an attempt to lower the amount of serious injuries that occur. Unfortunately, as part of the game injuries won’t ever be completely eliminated. At the professional level football teams have roster sizes that are able to withstand times when the injury bug bites. Many high school programs do as well, unless it’s a smaller school like one in Murtaugh, Idaho.
Murtaugh High School’s football team has endured a season thus far that you wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even your biggest rival. In one game six players were lost due to various injuries, forcing the school to forfeit that game because they didn’t have enough healthy players to continue. Two other games were canceled due to Murtaugh not being able to field the minimum required number of players.
With the safety of the players in mind the school board decided this week to cancel the remainder of the season.
Murtaugh has faced low numbers for several years, but has been able to skate by until this injury-plagued season. Currently, only seven players are healthy and maybe four more are injured but could possibly play. The team hasn’t practiced the past two weeks, which raised concerns about playing a game in four days without proper preparation.
“There were too many concerns about the kids’ safety and health that (the board) just couldn’t ignore,” said Murtaugh athletic director Clete Edmunson.
Options have been explored for the future of the football program at Murtaugh, including a co-op arrangement with another school, but this story serves as another reminder of what kind of toll football can take on the body. Hopefully Murtaugh can come up with a solution for next season, and moving forward, because you never want to see an athletic program come to an end this way. But hats off to those involved in the decision for considering the well being of the young men involved.