Matt Chaney Tells It Like It Is on 2011 Football Casualties

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By Matt Chaney

Last fall in Oklahoma, athletic trainer Dan Dodson saw the horrific side of tackle football become manifest.

Grave injury struck down three teen players under Dodson’s watch, leaving one dead, from one team.

In a span of barely three weeks, Edmond North High School became site of perhaps the worst cluster of acute casualties in known history of American football.

Junior player Ryan Smith died on Oct. 12, likely of blood clots originating from leg fractures that the 16-year-old suffered at football practice the day before.

Two weeks later, sophomore Dillian Barrett, 15, was hammered in a collision during practice at Edmond North, breaking a rib that caused lacerations of his liver and spleen.

Then, on Nov. 4, sophomore player John Liles took a lethal blow at practice, damaging internal organs, and the 15-year-old underwent emergency surgery for removing spleen and part of his pancreas.

Questions rose in aftermath about Edmond North football, seeking explanation for the team’s catastrophic injuries, and school trainer Dan Dodson pointed to obvious culprit in the sport itself.

“It is a lot of injuries from one school,” Dodson conceded for KFOR-TV, “but you gotta look at the nature of the sport they’re playing. Football is a violent-contact sport.”


No matter how football advocates always spin the violence, regardless their talk of solutions always in progress, the tackle sport rolls on as predictable mass carnage, maiming players by the thousands annually, killing far too many—and at much higher rates than acknowledged by game officials, associate researchers and an adoring public.

This report presents an unprecedented collection of injuries surrounding football in a given year, 220 cases ranging from severe to fatal during 2011, with the large majority juveniles. The list is comprised strictly of information available in Google banks.

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