Trade in those pigskins for guns and bullets?

What is the world coming to?  A high school football coach is on trial for killing one of his players.

At least, that’s what a prosecutor is arguing in Kentucky, where a jury will decide the fate of former coach Jason Stinson.

Coach Stinson had enough of the kids goofing off one day.  So after a long, two-hour practice, he told the players to start running wind-sprints until someone quit.  Two players eventually did quit … five got sick … and one collapsed. 

The one who dropped unconscious was offensive lineman Max Gilpin, who died three days later in the hospital.

It’s very unusual for this type of death to make the news.  Sure the media covered the death of Korey Stringer, one of the Minnesota Viking’s top players in 2001, when he died of heat stroke at practice one day.  But the media only made a big news story of Stringer’s death because he was a celebrity.

It’s very rare to see coverage of these kinds of deaths, even though — and for this you have to be sitting down — more high school kids die playing football than get killed by gunfire on campus!

That’s right.  Despite what media coverage might seem to indicate, there are more deaths related to high school football than guns.  Over a recent three year period, more football players died from hits to the head, heat stroke, etc. (32), as compared with students who were murdered by firearms on campus (29) during that same time period.

Most people would never realize this because more attention is given to gun deaths in the mainstream media.  Never mind the fact that guns are used 50-80 times more often to save life than to take life.  And never mind that every day, Americans use guns 4,000-7,000 times in self-defense.

Guns have even been used to save lives on campuses around the country:

* In 1997, Assistant Principal Joel Myrick saved the lives of countless students when he used his own gun to stop a student from continuing his deadly rampage at a Mississippi high school.

* A year later, James Strand used his shotgun to disarm a gunman at a school dance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania — holding the shooter until the police arrived.

* In 2002, two law school students at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia used their own personal guns to stop Peter Odighizuwa’s rampage.  The students held the shooter until the police arrived.

The stories of self-defense are endless — and they’re not just confined to schools.  Just months after the Virginia Tech shooting, Jeanne Assam used her concealed firearm to save hundreds of lives at a Colorado church.  She shot a gunman who was armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and, thus, prevented what could have potentially become one of the greatest massacres on U.S. soil.
There has never been a documented case of a football saving people’s lives.  And yet, when you look at the statistics, guns are actually safer than pigskins on high school campuses!

So what are we to make of all this?  There are already rules in place to limit football practice during excessively hot days since, by far, the leading killer of high school football players is heat stroke.  But should more be done?

Should we institute background checks before the purchase of every football or entirely ban the private sale of these pigskins?  Should we impose an age limit for spectators wishing to attend a football game or limit the advertisements for these gladiator forums?

Of course not.  And yet, these are the very kinds of calls that we hear every time there is a school shooting.

There is clearly a double standard when it comes to this kind of reporting.  One could only hope that the media would now start covering football-related deaths — which occur more frequently — with the same tenacity that they cover gun-related deaths.

But don’t count on it.