Sunday, January 31, 2010

Norwood Hockey Gets Ready to Skate Again

The Norwood Senior High School hockey team in Norwood, Massachusetts, can be forgiven if they feel a little nervous getting out on the ice this coming Wednesday.  Last Saturday, Matthew Brown, a sophomore on the team, broke his neck in an accident during the team's game against Weymouth.  His condition was upgraded yesterday from critical to serious.  On Wednesday, the team played a game dedicated to Matthew.  A moment of silence was held in his honor before the game.  Late in the second period, senior Christopher O'Brien fell on the ice, unconscious.  He had suffered a major concussion and was out for five to six hours.  He was released from the hospital on Thursday night.

I give two thumbs up to the staff at Norwood Senior High School for how they appear to have dealt with this situation.  In addition to the entire community rallying to support Brown and his family, including raising money for medical bills for what is sure to be a long recovery, the school recognized immediately that the first accident was a crisis for the student community and that the second one, despite being not as serious, needed to be taken very seriously from a psychological standpoint.  The school had counselors at the ready and the Principal made a point of suggesting that the kids use them.  They sent the hockey team out to breakfast together on Thursday morning and postponed two of their games to give them time to regroup.

All of this may sound like a no-brainer.  It seems pretty sensible to me.  You'd be amazed, however, how often adults, when bad stuff happens to kids, either don't do enough or do way too much.  Many schools and coaches would tell the team to buck up and get out there and win one for Matthew on Wednesday, and then tell them to win one for Christopher on Thursday, oblivious to the double-whammy the team has suffered and the fact that, after two players are seriously injured in two games, their teammates have to be wondering who will be next.  Others, on the other hand, would cancel the whole season.  I'm impressed with the balance this school found between the very real need to keep things as normal as possible for the kids and the very real need for the kids to process and heal before they try to move on.

Of course, the team aren't the only ones who are traumatized by all this.  There are a lot of students and adults who were at both games and watched both accidents.  One was awful.  Two was unthinkable.  One student who had been at Wednesday's game was interviewed by the Boston Globe and commented on the prospects for the rest of the season.  She said,
It's fine with me if they never play again.

I don't doubt that's how she feels, and both playing again and watching them play again may be the hardest things these kids have ever done.  Until they do, however, they won't be able to realize that what happened really is a freakish coincidence and that they are not in any more danger right now than they were last Saturday when they first took to the ice.  I hope they have a great game on Wednesday.  They deserve it.

Thanks to frequent Quarterbackers Abe and Colleen for the tip about this story.


Meet the Quarterback

My Photo
Naomi Zikmund-Fisher
is a clinical social worker, former school Principal and a Crisis Consultant for schools and community organizations. You can learn more about her at
View my complete profile

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Quarterback for Kindle

Blog Archive