Fredonia parents fight for future of football

FREDONIA, N.Y. (WIVB)- Parents took a goal line stand Monday night in Fredonia.

More than 200 parents, students, and former football players turned out at a public forum to send a loud and clear message to the Fredonia School Board to forget any plan that would end the school’s football program.

The district has found it harder to find enough players to maintain a Varsity and Junior Varsity football team. The district has the option of merging with the already merged football team of Westfield-Brocton schools.

When the discussion came up last week, Fredonia School Board President Michael Bobseine suggested ending the football program altogether because of the inherent risks of injury. He noted that the team Fredonia would be merging with mourned the loss of a player in 2013. 16 year old Damon Janes died as the result of a head injury he sustained during a high school football game.

“That’s the problem.” said Bobseine. “I have a fiduciary responsibility to my district taxpayers, and I know , I do believe if something should happen, we’re gonna get sued.”

Parents like John Gullo are willing to take the risk. “I think your limited parental role is satisfied both morally and legally by making all student activities as safe as possible, and leaving the rest up to us, the actual parents.”

Tyler DiRusso just graduated from Fredonia. “If you take away football, not only are you taking away from these young gentlemen and all others on this room, but you’re taking away pride of a community.”

Orthopedic surgeon, Brian Mata even added his perspective about his experience with football injuries. “The amount of ACLs I do are far more in females than males. That’s our high risk population.”

At it’s next meeting, February 9, the Fredonia School Board will vote on a proposal by School Superintendent Paul DiFonzo to merge Fredonia’s football program with Westfield-Brocton.

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