UPPER ST. CLAIR (KDKA) — It’s close to a religion in our region, but there is little doubt that high school football has its dangers.
Fear of concussions and their long-term impact drove John Orsini to wage a legal battle to stop his own son from playing.
“It’s a nightmare. It’s an absolutely nightmare. But he needed to be protected. This could be devastating and all indications are that it very well could be,” Orsini said.
Orsini’s son has suffered three, possibly four, concussions. Two of those concussions were suffered while playing football at Upper St Clair. Against his son’s wishes, Orsini demanded last summer that the school district make his son ineligible to play.
“When you have a kid that just turned 16 years old that’s already suffered four concussions, you don’t let them make that decision. You make that decision based on medical evidence,” Orsini said.
But his ex-wife Janice took Orsini to court, stating that her son had been evaluated and cleared by his treating physicians and that the district had followed all safety and concussion protocols.
Family Court Judge Jennifer Satler allowed the boy to play last year while the two squared off in court, and now Orsini has reluctantly entered into a consent order that, while requiring an evaluation at any sign of concussion, allows his son to play again this season.
“My objective here was for my son, but altruistically, kids shouldn’t be playing football. It’s that simple,” Orsini said.
It’s a question that parents across the country continue to struggle with. While John Orsini has lost his battle to keep his son from playing football, it’s a stand he still believes he had to take.