I think appalling is the word I’m looking for here.
That’s certainly the case surrounding Shawn Nieto, the starting running back for Cleveland High School in New Mexico. As reported by the Rio Rancho Observer and Albuquerque Journal, Nieto suffered an expected concussion in his team’s state semifinal victory against Mayfield; the injury was diagnosed by the team’s medical trainer after examining the running back. By state regulation, that concussion required Nieto to sit out for at least seven days, a term that made him ineligible for Cleveland’s state final against Eldorado.
Yet Nieto was allowed to play in the final game of his junior season because his parents filed a temporary restraining order in a local court, barring his school from implementing New Mexico House Bill 101, which establishes the state’s concussion protocol.
“Once our trainer (Jeff Archuleta) identified the concussion, I backed him 100 percent,” Rio Rancho athletic director Bruce Carver told the Observer. “The parents took it to court on Friday and got a TRO; the judge ruled he could play. We were given a court order that the district was not to interfere.
“Our superintendent and I agreed that a judge’s ruling over-rules a director’s director. We told (coach Heath Ridenour) to play Nieto if he wanted to … totally his decision.”
I have no idea if this kid’s talented enough to play college ball, but if I were a college coach, there is no way I’d touch him with a ten-foot pole. His parents seem like real pips.
As it turns out, the court’s decision was predicated largely on a medical evaluation by Dr. Karen Ortiz, who saw Nieto three days after the semifinal game and found no direct proof of any head injury. However, in the days since that ruling was provided to the courts, Ortiz has rescinded her own opinion, citing a lack of prior information in ruling that Nieto could safely return to competition.
“Had I understood that there was a loss of consciousness, I would have never provided medical clearance,” Ortiz wrote to in a letter to Rio Rancho Public Schools and the NMAA. “Allowing Mr. Shawn Nieto to return to play at this time may result in a wide range of long-term neuropsychologic disorders as well as possible catastrophic brain injury, unfortunately.”
To withhold medical evidence so your child can play… you’ve got to be pretty fixated on his sporting career to do that. Being a little sociopathic probably wouldn’t hurt, either. Sheesh.