In case you've been living under a rock for the last week, Mike Leach was the head football coach at Texas Tech and he was fired just a couple of days ago. Some say he was fired unjustly, but I disagree. Tech did the right thing in letting him go.
OK, so during practice, one of his players suffers a concussion. Instead of getting him proper medical treatment, Mike Leach ridicules him in front of the entire team and locks him in a closet. The boy tells his parents, who file a complaint against Leach. A whole brouhaha erupts, and Leach ends up being fired.
Now, that he is fired so quickly leads me to believe that this is not an isolated incident. He could have been suspended, or fined, or given a warning, but no. He is fired right off the bat. Since then, other players have spoken out against Leach, and have lent their support to the injured player. Of course, there are a lot of people out there supporting Mike Leach, too, but they are not the ones who have to suffer his abuse on a day to day basis. But it's not just the name calling, ridicule, or the occasional slapping around. I think most people could deal with that. The fact that this young man was denied proper treatment for a concussion is serious business. It could have life long effects.
As the NFL stars of the 60's and 70's age, we are just now beginning to understand the long term repercussions of untreated or improperly treated concussions. They are not good. So much so that the NFL has adopted strict guidelines in treating concussions. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in fines, suspensions, and even dismissal of the guilty parties--coaches and medical staff alike. In the NFL, a player is not even allowed to practice until he has been symptom free for a minimum of one week. Yet, Mike Leach wants to throw this kid right back into the fray the very next day. Not only that, this is a kid whose brain has not finished developing yet, and that makes this situation even more serious*.
Now, I'm all for gutting things out--things like wrist injuries, or ankle injuries, shoulder injuries, or even rib injuries. But there are two things that should never be taken lightly--neck injuries and head injuries. That Mike Leach did so makes him a child abuser and a monster. He should never be allowed to coach football again, at any level. But he probably will.
After all, isn't winning much more important than one child's life?
*Medical studies have shown that the human brain does not finish growing and developing until around age 25.