Knoxville (WVLT) - It's a parent's nightmare. Your son's tackled on the football field, but instead of getting up, he just lies there convulsing. This past weekend's life threatening NFL injury loomed on parents as they headed out to high school games.
Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy spoke with athletic trainers.
These injuries are rare, but can happen to any player. In a deep-rooted rivalry like Friday night's Farragut and Bearden match-up, the pads collide extra hard. That's why coaches spend so much time teaching proper technique.
A hit that stops a parents heart.
"That's got to hurt," parent Eddie Halliday said.
But Bearden High School Quarter back Dawson Halliday gets up. This time.
"When his arm's in the air, he's pretty vulnerable. He gets hit pretty hard, and the players land on top of him," Halliday said.
And number nine's proud Dad has watched his son take quite a few licks.
"Actually, this is the first year he's been completely healthy since he's been at Bearden high school," Halliday said.
Just last weekend, Halliday and every football parent got a reminder just how grueling the gridiron can be. Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett got hit with a life-treatening spinal cord injury.
"It does happen. It can happen at any level, though high school kids are probably more prone to injury," said Lisa Wolf, who oversees Knox County trainers.
If it does happen in Knox County, Lisa Wolf's in charge of the trainer taking charge of your star player.
"You always worry about head and neck injuries. We see our fair share of concussions," Wolf said.
But most tackles just bring....
"A lot of knee and ankle injuries," Wolf said.
If a player does get hurt, odds are, it's not while the game clock's running. Trainers say 60 percent of injuries happen during practice. That's where prevention for Friday Night Lights begins.
"Everyday, we have a fundamental offensive and defensive period. That's what we start with blocking and tackling every day," Farragut head coach Eddie Courtney said.
And with nearly 100 plays a game, the pads usually do their job.
"As many hits that are going to be made tonight in high school football, tomorrow in college, and Sunday in pro, you talk about the number of hits. You take one guy and that's not statistically very much," Courtney said.
That's what gets this quarterback's dad through each and every play.
"You just trust your instincts. You can't live in fear. You've got to dance," Halliday said.
In the game of life.
Trainers say there's usually one of them for each team, plus an orthopedic surgeon on the sidelines. Rural/Metro's also always on call. Trainers say several Knox County athletes have suffered season-ending injuries this year, but none life-threatening.