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POLL: Should Athletes Get New Football Helmets?

Some parents want Town Meeting to approve $25,000 for new equipment to avoid head injuries among high school athletes. Is this something Arlington should prioritize?

A group of Arlington parents concerned about head injuries wants the town to approve funding to update athletic equipment at Arlington High School's football program, the Boston Globe reported.

The parents want old football helmets to be thrown out, granted Town Meeting approves $25,000 in funding for new equipment, the paper reported.

Stephen Harrington, chair of the Arlington Athletics Foundation and one of the parents behind the move, told Patch on Thursday that at least 120 signatures have been collected so far.

Harrington said there have been at least 15 concussions this year alone, with eight players out for the remaining of the season.

Athletic Director Ted Dever told the Globe 12 players were removed from games due to suspected injuries.

What do you think? Should Town Meeting approve $25,000 to update Arlington High School's athletic equipment? Please feel free to leave other comments in the box below.

Bob Sprague December 15, 2011 at 02:54 PM
I think this is worthy effort. I'm wondering why the request will be made to Town Meeting and not directly to the School Committee's budget subcommittee. Shouldn't this body first deal with such a request? Bob Sprague
Bob Sprague December 15, 2011 at 03:08 PM
The article you cite here says "Menotomy Observer" wrote it. What is the writer's real name? Bob Sprague
Silas Trip December 16, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Blog Sprague, Isn't "True Persons" a wholly-owned subsidiary of U R Arlington??
Bob Sprague December 16, 2011 at 02:43 PM
If "Silas" -- or anyone -- wants to discuss an issue, I will be glad to if all involved use real names and not hide behind anonymity. There are times to remain hidden, but a discussion of concussions in school sports is not one of them. Find accurate information about YourArlington here: http://www.yourarlington.com/local-media-outlets/yourarlington Bob Sprague
Timothy Moloney December 16, 2011 at 03:52 PM
I support Mr.Harrington's article. My son has played Pop Warner football for the last 5 years and while he has been fortunate enough to have avoided any major injury, head or otherwise, it is always on mind. Regardless, my question is the same as Bob's above. Can TM vote to appropriate funds for a single item like football helmets? It seems this should go through the appropriate dept. budgeting process and included in the yearly budget packages for TM. Will end with my thanks to Mr.Harrington and all of the other parents who are working to address this issue. Tim
Bob Sprague December 16, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Steve, I pointed out that I thought your effort was worthy. That means, I support your effort to improve safety. You appear to ignore that. I also asked why you are not making your request directly to the budget committee. In addition to a warrant article, why wouldn't you do that? Bob Sprague
Kathy Fennelly December 16, 2011 at 11:30 PM
However valuable and worthy the effort to update athletic equipment, insulting the people who are in control of the budget and who are responsible for the expenditures does not seem to be a smart idea. Better to persuade the people closest to the issue and build support from within the school system than use an end run which is unlikely to be successful. Answering questions and explaining yourself is part and parcel of convincing others of your point of view. As difficult as it is, Stephen Harrington, if you want to succeed in your quest, better to make friends than create enemies. Kathy Fennelly
BD December 17, 2011 at 11:44 PM
Why aren't the parents of the athletes simply paying if it is a worthwhile cause?
Bob Sprague December 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Can you document for the public -- not for me -- how athletics fees pay salaries? If this is the case, the public should see the facts supporting this claim. Bob Sprague
JR December 19, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Bob, During the Athletic Fees discussions and meetings earlier this year, several of which you attended and reported on, it was acknowledged and documented that a component of the Athletic Fee build-up included coaches and staff salaries and stipends. Several times the question was posed to SC members if there was a conflict for private funds (ie parents) to be paying these salaries that, in turn, contributed to future pension calculations. These stipends are also already contractually obligated in the union contracts, so we then have the additional question if it is even legal to look for external funds (parents) to support something that is already contracted for and in the budget. Like many questions around the topic of these Fees, the question has been routinely ignored by the SC and administration.
Bob Sprague December 19, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Provide your name and the documentation of the claim. Bob Sprague
JR December 19, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Just go to Page 2 of the March 2011 Athletic Advisory Committee report where it lists "Coach's Stipends" as a direct cost borne by students. On the SC portion of the APS website, you'll find numerous spreadsheets and reports that detail the coaching salaries of each and every sport. I acknowledge that these costs exist, but what I question is if they exist both in the build up of the athletic fees as well as in another budget that is already contractually obligated. I'm not opposed to contributing a reasonable amount towards other direct costs such as transportation, uniforms, officials, etc, but I object to paying twice for something which may be already in the another budget.

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