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Sound Off! Helping runner could lead to more trouble

Helping a runner finishcould lead to more trouble In a recent Soundoff! letter (Nov. 7), Proctor educator/coach Nathan Johnson chides 19-year state cross-country official Eve Graves regarding Esko runner Kailee Kiminski's resultant disqualificati...

Helping a runner finish
could lead to more trouble
In a recent Soundoff! letter (Nov. 7), Proctor
educator/coach Nathan Johnson chides 19-year state cross-country official Eve Graves regarding Esko runner Kailee Kiminski’s resultant disqualification at the Minnesota Class A state meet and praises Kiminski’s action of helping carry another runner across the finish line, stating he “gets” that the rule is there to prevent unfair aiding of a competitor.
Johnson couldn’t be more off the mark. The rule is there primarily to ensure the safety of the athlete. The distressed runner’s body was telling her something’s wrong/stop the physical exertion. Forcing her to continue was a potential risk of life, had there been deeper physiological factors involved (torn heart lining/
Marfan Syndrome; pulmonary/blood pressure; floating clot; etc.). Many things unseen on the outside can be potentially fatal with continued effort; no one can assume to know what’s happening on a cellular level. That’s why there are rules - and penalties for breaking those rules - designed to protect athletes, with officials such as Graves present to enforce them.
Johnson is a football coach, a sport that applauds athletes for continuing to play when hurt. But coaches on any level are taught in mandatory first-aid classes to never move an injured person unless there is the threat of imminent loss of life. If truly needing to interfere, Kiminski and the other “helper” should have simply stayed with the girl until medical aid arrived rather than force her to “keep moving” and risk greater harm. Graves said all this herself in News Tribune reporter Louie St. George’s fine story of facts before emotion.
Johnson means well. But it is both disappointing and scary that an educator and coach cannot find value in a rule designed to protect a student-athlete.
Brian Gaus
Cloquet

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