A soccer player has to be flown to a hospital from a game. Another player, kicked inadvertently in practice, suffers a severed pancreas. A field hockey goalie kicks a ball away from the cage, and it strikes a teammate in the eye.
All serious injuries - all occurring over the past three years, all in girls events and two in Juniata County - that have taken place in sports that are among the safest to play.
Each time an incident like this occurs, it's followed by a clarion call for ambulances and trainers at every sports event in which a high school athlete takes part. This, despite the fact that having athletic trainers at games is a relatively new trend - and is not a requirement.
Oh, and somebody has to pay for it.
The issue comes to the forefront tonight because of a football game that isn't being played. East Juniata was slated to host Carson Long, but the trainer contracted by Juniata County School District is assigned to the girls soccer game between Juniata and East Juniata.
Carson Long couldn't provide a trainer - nor could Midd-West, the Tigers' football partner. District superintendent Kenneth Albaugh told me last week that he insists on a trainer for a contact sport like football, and that every effort was made to have a trainer present before the decision to cancel was made.
Want someone to blame for this debacle? As it turns out, it's not that easy - the issue goes back to East Juniata's effort, later reversed by the school board, to move the Tigers from the All-American Football Conference to the Twin Valley Conference. Because of that, scheduling issues made this an off-night contest.
I don't disagree with Albaugh's desire to protect student athletes from harm. And it's true the trainer at the soccer match will serve more of the district's constituency, albeit in a sport that is far less dangerous than most people think. To be fair, football isn't the most dangerous sport either - in fact, most people admit surprise on learning which students involved in a sporting activity are most likely to suffer a serious injury.
Here's a hint: They're at the football game - but they aren't in pads and helmets. Their uniforms include skirts and pompoms. Study after study shows that cheerleading is the most dangerous of all scholastic sports. Truth is, most scholastic sports are exceptionally safe, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, which has been looking at this for nearly 30 years
Each year, NCCIR publishes an annual report showing the injury rate for all college and high school sports. Injuries are classified as direct (from the sport) or indirect (related to the sport), and are broken into fatal, non-fatal and serious categories, with rates based on injuries per 100,000 participants.
Using the center's data, adding all injuries to determine which sports have the highest level of danger involved, boys gymnastics, boys softball, boys ice hockey and girls ice hockey are at the top of the list - football is No. 5 (NCCIR does not include cheerleading in its report).
Football lags even further behind when it comes to fatalities, where - believe it or not - boys softball has the highest number of deaths due to direct injuries (3.19), compared to 0.8 fatalities per 100,000 players in football (most of those due to indirect injuries). Boys basketball, which has a fatality rate of .75 per 100,000 for indirect injuries, is only slightly different from football overall in this regard.
The safest sports? Let's say your daughter is much better off in sports than your son: girls tennis and volleyball have the lowest injury rates, followed by softball and girls lacrosse. Girls track and girls soccer are among the lowest - in fact, after gymnastics and ice hockey, field hockey is the next most dangerous for girls, but the injury rate is a scant .26 per 100,000, about the same as track and soccer combined. Girls sports across the board are safer than the counterparts for boys.
Tennis and golf are the least dangerous for boys, followed by cross country and swimming. After football, lacrosse is the next most dangerous for boys, trailed by water polo and wrestling.
From an overall perspective, it shouldn't be a surprise that football ends up as an injury leader, not just because of the hitting, but because of the participation level - it's the single-most popular scholastic sport, with 35 percent of high school boys taking part. And, boys participate in sports at a rate nearly twice that of girls.
And if these numbers sound unacceptable, then you need to revoke your kid's drivers license - in 2009, after a 4 percent drop over 10 years, teen highway deaths still averaged 64 per 100,000, more than all high school sports combined.
Jeff Fishbein is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at email@example.com.