Is College Football Worth Dying For?
That’s the question being asked at Notre Dame after tragedy struck one young student. Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old videographer for the football team, died at a team practice this week.
Sullivan was recording the practice from atop a 31-foot hydraulic lift while there were heavy gusts of wind. The windy conditions caused the lift to fall. Sullivan acknowledged the harsh wind via his Twitter page, noting the conditions were life threatening.
In light of Sullivan’s death, many questions arise for athletic teams across the country. For starters, are the employees at university athletic departments being provided with proper working conditions in order to do their respective jobs?
Let’s be clear. With windy conditions, no one should’ve been expected to go to any significant height in order to cover the practice. Common sense says it’s too risky and he should have been excused from continuing. It doesn’t seem to be a risk Coach Brian Kelly would’ve been willing to make if it had been a player on the lift. An ongoing investigation is seeking to determine whether or not Sullivan had even been adequately trained to use the lift and if safety guidelines were followed.
Kelly, of course, cannot see the future. However, he should be able to see the writing on the wall and have concern for the individual before being a coach and a winner. The choice between having practice film or risking the elements at 31 feet should have been a no-brainer and may point to how badly coaches want to win.
Nearly every year there is a story of some high-school football player collapsing during summer practice. Despite this, coaches nationwide still hold practices during the hottest parts of the day and require their players attend. Coaches should give 100 percent effort to winning games and protecting the lives of the students in their charge.
The practice film was not worth the life of a young man who had so much more to contribute.