Can youth sports deaths be prevented?

Support for the family and fellow students of Alex Miller, the young player who died during a Sept. 13 football game in Spencer, West Virginia, has been heartwarming. People from communities throughout our state and Ohio have gone far out of their way to support his family and friends at Roane County High School.

Now, thoughts should turn to what killed him and how we can prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

At this writing, officials had not yet released a cause of death for the 17-year-old. It appears he collapsed on the sideline, during a break in the game.

West Virginia already has detailed requirements to safeguard high school athletes, especially during football games. Clearly, however, something went badly wrong for Miller.

The grim truth is that his death may have been unavoidable. Especially during hot weather, football is an exceedingly strenuous game.

But young athletes should not be cut down as Miller was.

If new safeguards are needed, they should be devised and implemented as soon as possible.


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