Today’s news:

How to Kill a High School Sport

Poor Alina Cedra. The 15-year-old student at Francis Lewis High School broke her ankle last May sliding into a base during practice with the high school softball team. It must have been a bad break because the surgeon needed six screws and a metal plate to put her ankle back together.

The good news is that after seven months Alina is practicing with the team and expects to play again next spring. The bad news is her mother has hired an attorney who is suing the city, school and coach.

Alina’s lawyer, Clay Evall, claims the girls were not properly supervised during the sliding drill. “He [the coach] wasn’t instructing them whatsoever,” said her lawyer as visions of your tax dollars danced in his head. “He told her to watch the older girls do it.”

We hope Alina makes a full recovery. We also hope her mother and her lawyer do not make a penny with this lawsuit. There are risks inherent in every high school sport. That is why the PSAL makes parents sign a release if they want their children to participate in team sports.

Lawsuits like the one brought by Evall have a devastating impact. There is a danger that the city Department of Education will conclude at some point that team sports are not worth the risk. Every penny that might be paid to Alina’s family could be money the school will not have to spend for teachers, books and classroom supplies.

Adding the coach to this lawsuit adds insult to injury. Most high school coaches work long hours for little pay and are dedicated to helping kids. Few if any are wealthy. If this abuse of the courts is allowed to continue, good men and women will have to question whether they can afford to be coaches.

Every team sport has risks. The PSAL goes to great lengths to make sure sports at public high schools are as safe as possible.

Francis Lewis High School has set a high standard in both athletics and academics and has done so on a limited budget. Administrators, teachers and coaches have made every one of your tax dollars count. The school deserves the support of every parent. Absent evidence of gross misconduct or neglect dragging this school into court is nothing short of shameful.

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