OCS Coach weighs-in on football injuries - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

OCS Coach weighs-in on football injuries

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Monroe head football coach weighs-in on a Farmerville player's injury and how to help prevent such tragedies.

Head coach at Ouachita Christian School Steven Fitzhugh has been coaching in Northeast Louisiana for almost 20 years and says this is one of the most severe incidents he's heard about.

"In a football season, there's going to be injuries, may be an ankle injury, or someone hurts their wrist, something like that," says Fitzhugh.

Coach Fitzhugh says minor injuries are common throughout the year. It's a hazard of the trade, but a fractured vertebrae like that of Farmerville High player Jaleel Gipson, isn't so common.

"Accident is what it is," says Fitzhugh, "because a school can go through 20-30 years and longer and never have a situation like that."

Fitzhugh says the main way he keeps his players safe is by teaching technique. Not ducking your head when tackling is an important one of those lessons. It can cause serious head, neck, and vertebrae injuries, but in Jaleel Gipson's case, his coaches report the tackling drill was textbook.

Farmerville High Principal David Gray says Gipson's technique was spot on.

"Jaleel was carrying the football, he was head up in the exact position he needs to be, the tackler lead with his shoulder as textbook as taught," says Gray.

Even with the proper training, accidents can happen. This rare occurrence left Jaleel Gipson in critical condition and a community praying for his recovery. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Farmerville has had to deal with a football-related tragedy. In 2010, a football player died after complaining of nausea and dizziness. After being rushed to the hospital, it was discovered he had an enlarged heart and went into cardiac arrest and died.

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