Bryan Burwell of the St Louis Post-Dispatch wrote an article about Missouri football player Aaron O’Neil, who died of meningitis last July. His main gripe is that there were a lot of warning signs that something was wrong with Aaron, but they were all ignored by the players and coaches. Chances are that he would have died anyway, even had he been in the hospital instead of in the locker room, but his chances would certainly have been better.

I don’t see the machismo thing as necessarily bad; everybody likes to look good and likes to intimidate opponents (or fellow teammates). However, his coaches have a responsibility for his well being, and watching somebody complain of dizziness while crawling on their hands and knees should not be met by “Don’t Baby Him” comments when somebody tries to help him out. You can be tough while still getting enough water and calories in you and getting the required rest to allow your muscles to recover. Coaches should be looking after their players bodies first because they have been entrusted to their care and second because a healthy player will be a better player.