Taking a knee for injured players

Allison Rafert, Staff Writer

As part of the band, I attend every Liberty home football game. And while my attention is constantly being divided between talkative clarinet players, boxes of Junior Mints, my ice cold toes, and the actual game, I can readily recognize when something is unusual on the field.

It’s a clear indicator when the entire stadium silences and the massive student section takes a seat. It’s not long before we all observe the reason why: a football player is lying facedown on the field, clutching his shin at an awkward angle.

It’s not rare to see injuries occur in such a high-risk sport, but it is shocking to see how the Liberty football players react.

While many opposing teams take the opportunity to respect the fallen player by taking a knee, Liberty fails to exhibit the same level of compassion by allowing its players to wander aimlessly along the sidelines, disguising any concern for the injured.

Liberty used to take part in this unwritten tradition but, currently, the team opts out of kneeling for several reasons.

A considerable amount of high school football injuries are minor, like a leg cramp, and Liberty considers it unnecessary to kneel especially when the briefly injured player often participates in the subsequent play. The team also fears that taking a knee in cold weather will cause the players to cool down and be prone to muscle tears or strains.

There is, however, one circumstance where the entire team would kneel: a serious injury. Although, it is nearly impossible to determine the severity of an injury the instant it happens.

Liberty should have the right to decide for themselves, but football is also for the enjoyment of the fans. And as a fan who sits down whenever someone is injured on the field, I want to see the Liberty players show the same concern.

If kneeling poses too much of a risk, the team should at least stand attentive to the injured player from the sideline and silence their commotion.

This way, a message of respect is still conveyed — from the Liberty football players, to the opposing team, to the fans, to create a supportive community for the entire school.