Cadott (WQOW)- The football season is over for a local high school: a tough decision, but one that could protect student athletes in the long run.
The school lost its first two games by a combined score of 98 to 8. Beyond the scoreboard, the decision was made with safety in mind. The team only has 14 healthy players and there were concerns about the risk of injury if the kids continued to play at a varsity level.
In 1999, Cadott won the first football state championship in school history.
Fast forward 13 years and it's another first in school history. After an 0 and 2 start, Cadott has canceled varsity football for the rest of the season. Only 16 kids went out this year. Two players have already missed time after suffering concussions.
"We lost a few early and then some injuries these past few weeks have really crushed us and took us down to numbers that we just weren't able to play with," explains Cadott Head Football Coach Perry Myren. "And concussions, especially with the impact that concussions have on our society nowadays, it's been tough. I think a lot of teams have been dealing with this. It just hit us really hard this year."
It wasn't an easy decision for a program that's been around for more than a century.
"The few kids that we had worked extremely hard this past season," Myren points out. "We set goals and our participation in the off-season training has far exceeded what it has been in the past. Unfortunately, all that hard work ended a little bit short of our goals."
A new goal is to keep playing. Much of the team will still be able to compete at a lower level in junior varsity or C squad games.
"We are going to keep practicing. We are not going to change anything that way. We'll play those lower-level games where the kids can play in a safe environment," Myren says. "It's a setback, but it's a one-year deal is the way we're looking at it."
Myren says some of his seniors have too much varsity experience to be allowed to play in those junior varsity or C squad games. He says his district is exploring all of its options; and that includes allowing those seniors to play for another high school during their senior year.
"It's been hard on those few kids and we're trying to talk with other coaches and schools and see what we can do for them," says Myren.
Cadott hopes to field a team next year if the numbers go up. To compare: Osseo-Fairchild is about the same size as Cadott for enrollment and has 40 kids on the varsity roster this fall. The concussion issue is a concern. The WIAA has a new rule in place to address that. Every student athlete must undergo a baseline test for concussions at the beginning of every season. Osseo-Fairchild says so far this fall, it has not had any issues.
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