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Letters to the Editor: La Jolla High football parents support the program

A scene from La Jolla High School’s 2014 Homecoming football game.
A scene from La Jolla High School’s 2014 Homecoming football game.
(Ed Piper)

••• OPINION / OUR READERS WRITE / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

••• La Jolla High football parents support the program: There has been some negative press recently regarding the La Jolla High School (LJHS) football program. What is missing from the articles that appeared in the Voice of San Diego and the La Jolla Light is a fair account of the many positive things the football program and its coaches have done over the past several years. In fact, the LJHS football program has been ahead of the curve when it comes to promoting player safety and engaging in research and education in sports injuries, including concussion.

Our sons have participated in the LJHS football program over the last several years (as many as six years for some). In the last two seasons, Coach Jason Carter has done a herculean job to improve the safety and conditioning structure for all players. He spearheaded an effort to remodel the weight room and established opportunities for all LJHS athletes to train and condition throughout the year, which yielded a far lower injury rate among football players during the two most recent seasons.

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Ahead of the curve on safety, he implemented concussion education and safe hitting practices for all players. Furthermore, four years ago, the Viking football program (under prior head coach Rey Hernandez and continuing with Carter) took part in an approved UC San Diego research protocol with Dr. Steve Hayden looking at concussions in high school players. The project evaluated several practical sideline tests for detecting subtle signs of concussion and involved baseline screening for all players, as well as repeat testing for any player suspected of having sustained a concussion during the season.

Dr. Hayden now has data to support further testing and would be willing to help the San Diego Unified School District add baseline neurological assessment criteria and some quick field assessment tools for all training staff and coaches. The players and coaches benefited from participating in this multi-year research study by increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussion and encouraging the players to speak up when they or a teammate had even the slightest suspicion of sustaining a head injury. Dr. Hayden and LJHS Athletic Trainer, Ben Lowe, use these neurological assessment tools routinely on the sidelines during football games when they are made aware of an injured player.

In conclusion, as parents, we have been impressed with Coach Carter’s dedication to the health and well being of every player. This has included establishing required after-school study halls, nutrition lectures, yoga and bonding experiences like paint-ball, inspirational movies and team dinners. The entire coaching staff has been open to suggestions, supportive of education and training, and has been proactive in their efforts to improve conditioning, reduce injuries and build true team spirit. Coach Carter’s mantra to the boys is “We are a Family.”

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In their discussions about safety on and off the field, Coach Carter encouraged the boys to look out for and respect one another and always remember that they represent the long history and traditions of excellence of La Jolla High School at all times. As parents of players on the team we wholeheartedly support Coach Carter and the LJHS coaching staff and would like to recognize the positive accomplishments over the past several years. — LJHS Football Parents: Beth Penny; Stephen R. Hayden, M.D., Professor of Emergency Medicine, UC San Diego Health Systems; Marina Hayden; Dr. William Penny; Kristina Buckner; Dave Hammel; JoLynn and Guy Deir; Mary and Scott Rugg; Peter and Mary Beth Martin; Jane and Bob Schuman

•••Who has got $2 million to start the city of La Jolla? I need to respond to the letter titled “How much does it cost to operate La Jolla?” in the Jan. 15 issue. The writer says he does not believe La Jolla can become its own city as it cannot afford to. He is so wrong!

I would like him to go to Del Mar and see how 4,000-5,000 people do it. There is not a pothole, not a destroyed alley, no endless destroyed sidewalks. The trees and hedges are trimmed. It is amazing and historically perserved. It is what La Jolla should be and deserves to be and will be!

We are (a population of) more than 45,000, so if Del Mar can do it, so can we. We live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth and every day another chunk is taken out of it. It can be stopped and the rebuild can begin. It only takes money.

The key in becoming your own city is you get to contract your own people, you do not use the city and pay $80 per pothole ... you pay $8. Our group, Friends Of WindanSea, built a set of stairs at the beach with the city and paid $85,000. Then we did a second set of stairs there with a private contractor and paid only $35,000! So you can see we have the ability to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. Then those funds are used to fix, repair and improve.

If we want to save our community, before any more damage is done to it, we must become our own city, it is possible! There is a process in place, and yes, we can afford it.

We did a study in 2005 that proved it, but we were unable to raise the $2 million, which is what it would have cost to follow through, and there is a timetable we had to meet or start all over again. So, that is where we are now. Someone out there must want to become the founder of the City of La Jolla, and be a hero forever. Please come forward, find us at Independent La Jolla (independentlajolla.org). We need a hero. It will be the best thing you ever spent money on — the creation and saving of a city. — Melinda Merryweather, La Jolla

••• What’s on YOUR mind? Letters to the Editor for publication should be 250 words or less, and sent by e-mail to editor@lajollalight.com and please include the full name of the sender, city of residence and phone number for verification.

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Note: Letters are NOT the opinions of La Jolla Light.