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Two Sidney athletes struck by shot puts in four days


Stephen McKay

Sidney High School track athlete Taylor Parsons is attended to after she was struck in the head by a shot put during warmups for the Sidney Invite track and field meet last Saturday.

Two Sidney Public School District student-athletes were struck in the head by shot put throws in separate incidents that occurred within four days.

Both times, an ambulance was called to transport the injured student to Sidney Regional Medical Center.

District administrators this week said they were unable to comment on the extent of the injuries.

"That's not really something I can talk about, in terms of the injuries, because I haven't talked to either family about it in terms of the types of injuries they received," Sidney High Principal Chris Arent said on Wednesday.

Both Arent and activities director Mike Brockhaus said they were unaware of a similar occurrence in the past.

Brockhaus said both incidents occurred at track and field events.

"They were both competitors on the high school and middle school teams, and they were struck in the head with a shot put," he said. "They were competitors in the area. One was Saturday during warm-ups, and the other was [Tuesday] during practice."

The incident on Saturday occurred during the Sidney Invite high school track meet, while Tuesday's took place at a Sidney Middle School practice.

Neither Arent nor Brockhaus would discuss the specifics of either incident or say if the injured athletes were behind ropes meant to keep people back from the shot put landing zone.

"I know about both incidents, but really I don't have any first-hand knowledge of what occurred because I was not at either incident," Arent said.

But both administrators said it seemed the injuries were accidents.

"From my understanding, it was just an accident on both circumstances," Arent said. "I think there's certainly some things that occurred, but there was no maliciousness, no intent, it was just an accident – and that's really the only way I can term it."

Sidney Schools Superintendent Jay Ehler said safety is of upmost concern to the district.

"Safety is always a primary concern," he wrote in an email. "The coaches did go over proper safety around the shot put and discus rings."

He added, the district would reflect on the two incidents.

"Anytime we have something like this occur, we take a look in the mirror and see if we can improve," Ehler said. "We are very thankful and happy that neither injury ended up being too serious."

Arent said safety was reinforced during discussions with track athletes last week.

"We continue to talk to student athletes about appropriateness and making sure safety things are being followed," he said. "We also are purchasing additional materials for response to first aid to make sure we have the appropriate things."

At the district's athletic fields, the shot put ring is outside the stadium, he explained.

"So we want to make sure we have appropriate safety measures in place and appropriate response measures in place at both locations," Arent said.

Stephen McKay

Sidney's Taylor Parsons was one of two local track athletes who were struck in the head by a thrown shot put in the span of four days this week.

Nate Neuhaus, the Nebraska Schools Activities Association Assistant Director responsible for track and field, said injuries that occur at local events are not tracked by the organization.

"But there isn't a high incidence of this," he said.

The NSAA – and subsequently, the schools it's composed of – follows sporting rules and regulations established by National Federation of State High School Associations.

The rule book contains specific passages on cordoning off restricted areas near throwing events, making safety announcements and ensuring spectators and athletes are aware of the risks, Neuhaus said.

"We expect all schools to follow the rules that are in the book, and article 14 states: 'Warm-ups should not be allowed unless supervised by an event official and the contestant's coach,' " Neuhaus said. "There's a point of emphasis this year in the federation rule book that addresses safety and properly cordoning off areas."


Reader Comments

guest01 writes:

Well, I sure am comforted knowing that some things ocurred that bear reflection by looking in the mirror...and the school is going to make sure safety things are being followed...and they are going to go over some first aid things. Just curious, but what kind of first aid thing do you do for a head that is hit by a 10 pound steel ball traveling at X miles per hour? I am hoping safety things get squared away before the javelin event.


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