Local football coaches make players’ safety a priority

MAYFIELD, KY – This past weekend, the game of football experienced tragedy on the field. On Saturday, a Tennessee State University player experienced a head injury in a game against Vanderbilt University that left him in critical condition. In Pike County, Georgia, 16-year-old Dylan Thomas suffered a head injury during his high school football game. Thomas later died.

Local high school football coach Joe Morris has coached at Mayfield High School for many years. Morris says critical injuries are something coaches are always concerned about.

“It’s the coaches’ greatest fears is your player getting injured in any way,” Morris says.

Morris says, while critical injuries are scary, they are a rare thing. According to 2016 catastrophic sport injury research from, 0.07 of 100,000 football player injuries end in a fatality.

“You hear about it more across the country, you know, but I think that could be a good thing that makes people aware that you know something like that could happen. You try to teach players as much safety as possible,” says Morris.

Mike Rogers is an assistant coach at Mayfield who has a son who is a freshman on the team.

“It’s a important topic, and it needs to be,” says Rogers.

Rogers says he tries not to worry about his son having a serious injury during a game.

“He’s been down a couple of times, and I’d be macho if I didn’t tell you that the couple of times he got the breath knocked out of him the thought raced across my mind that I hope he’s OK. But I do that with all my players,” Rogers says.

Coach Morris says over his 30 years of coaching, his approach to practice has changed with players’ safety in mind.

“Over the years, it’s changed the way we teach tackling, the way we teach blocking. It definitely has changed over the course of my career. The way we practice is not as physical as it used to be,” Morris says.