Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Dear High School Football Coaches: You Are Not Bear Bryant


In case you missed this awful story, earlier today a high school football player on Long Island, N.Y. died when a log hit him in the head during practice.

Read that again: A log hit him in the head.

His name is Joshua Mileto. He is 16, an 11th grader at Sachem East High in Farmingville. The team was apparently doing a conditioning drill that involved players jogging while holding the log above their heads. Three kids were running beneath one log, and when two of them tripped, Joshua absorbed the blow.

And died.

The wife and I talk about this quite often, and other writers and I also talk about this quite often … but high school coaches need to stop behaving as if they’re a bunch of Bear Bryants, conditioning the 1976 Tide by having the players work out without water in 106 degrees. You know what I’m referring to—the strut, the whistle, the puffed-out chest, the reference to “our program.”

I don’t know much, but I do know football training (or any youth sports training) need not involve a bunch of kids carrying logs to and fro.

Sheesh. We never learn.