|Here it comes...get ready...TIMBERRRRRRRRR!!!|
This is becoming more and more of an issue over the past decade. To be honest, I can't really remember players collapsing on the field and eventually dying before that case at Northwestern in the late 90's (I think it was the late 90's) and then Korey Stringer. Now it seems like it happens somewhere in the country at least once a week. Like I said, I don't remember this ever being a problem in football until recently. But now, two-a-days have become a lightning rod for social debate as if they are the worst thing in the world.
Let me tell you how we did things at NHS under soon-to-be-fired Johnny S. We had two-a-days for three or four weeks. They all sucked. Every single one of them. You get to the school at 7:30 AM. You're on the field at 8 AM until around 11 for offensive practice. You shower and eat lunch in the air-conditioned school and maybe take a shitty nap in the hallway. Do you know how gross it is to put a helmet and shoulder pads that are completely drenched with sweat back on? It's miserable. At 1 or 1:30, you're back out for session two which is all defense and lasts for another three hours. Three days a week, you had 30 to 60 minutes of post two-a-day lifting to do, too. You get home around 6 and want no one to talk to you. Lather, rinse, repeat until school starts. Most people dread the start of school. I did not because it meant that THE SHIT was over and it was smooth sailing for the rest of the season.
The point is, it was tough. Really tough, just as much mental as it was physically exhausting. Naptown Wolverine once took a forearm to the chest during lineman drills only to have the impact make him shit his pants. Watching him sprint to the locker room with a poopy diaper still makes me laugh. That story had no point to this post but I wanted to mention it anyway because guys shitting their pants will never stop being funny. Back to the topic at hand though, you sweated your balls off. It was made very clear to us that we must remain hydrated. And we did. They monitored our weight before and after every practice to make sure we weren't losing too much water. I imagine that they still do this.
Does it suck that guys are dying on the field? Of course. But I don't see things changing. In a way, they can't. The only thing that schools can really do is keep hammering the hydration aspect and MAYBE cutting the max time for each two-a-day (but coaches will never adhere to a time limit on their practices). I don't see one big-ass 4 hour practice doing much. That would suck ass. Kids need to be responsible enough of knowing when to say when, too. If it sounds like I'm blaming dead kids for dying on the field, well, I kind of am. They need to communicate if they aren't feeling well and understanding their limits. It will give them practice for when they start binge drinking in college! Also, is there any way that schools can have players sign a waiver relieving them of responsibility should something horrible happen on the field due to Little Jimmy not being able to handle 200 up-downs because he didn't drink any water over the last 12 hours? Stupid Jimmy.
When I was a freshmen playing freshmen football (obvs), I once passed out in between plays during practice. It was sort of scary. I remember feeling really lightheaded since it was a million degrees and the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground. Do you know what happened next? Yep, my coach asked me to just make it through a few more plays since practice was almost over. HA! What if I had died? Whose blog would you read? Dietrich and Shumaker tried to kill me but they could not! I am invincible!
In conclusion, I believe that two-a-days, while not perfect, are a necessary evil for all levels of football (HS, college, pros). If I really wanted to sound crass, it's survival of the fittest, baby! Drago is right! If he dies, he dies! Basically, I've seen a lot of pussies last through a northwest Ohio August. If it can be done there, it can be done anywhere. Quit pussifying America, dead guys! Thoughts? Suggestions? Especially from former football players...or the Phoneix-based law firm of Hastings & Hastings!