Jupiter High making changes to Powder Puff game

Posted at 7:40 PM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 19:40:31-04

On Twitter today, the school's principal confirmed rumors that were spreading through the school surrounding the annual Powder Puff football game.

The message from Dan Frank read:

"Student safety is my first priority.  After much deliberation and consideration, I feel it is necessary to change the annual powder puff football game from a tackle football game to a flag football game. Our goal with this change is to maintain the highest standards of student safety and avoid subjecting students to an activity with the potential for a high risk of injury.   The narrow window of time for student preparation and practice, and the limited availability of properly fitting safety equipment would put our students at risk. I am and will continue to work with student leaders to move forward with a possible flag football game or an alternative activity.  I thank you for your understanding and support in keeping our students safe."

Georgia Taylor is a senior at the high school. She said the news was devastating for students taking part in the event.

"We believe that we can and that we're capable to tackle like that. We want to do it because we're girls and we don't get the opportunities that the boys do," she said.

She said that the girls who play sign waivers, acknowledging that they could get injured while playing.

"It's bumps and bruises, but if you can't handle it, you don't play," she said.

Dr. Vincent Sparber of St. Mary's Medical Center said, though, that the injuries could be much worse.

"Ankle sprains, back injuries, neck injuries. If they don't know how to tackle and they fall the wrong way or hit the wrong way, a concussion is always there as a viable outcome," he said.

He said many girls are able to play full contact sports like tackle football, and are less likely to be injured if they practice enough.

"When the boys practice football, they have months of preparation before. So going into a tackle football game, not used to wearing heavy equipment like shoulder pads, helmets is a disadvantage," the doctor said.

Georgia said the team practices for two weeks leading up to the game, and are coached by football players and other coaches at the school.

"They teach you how to tackle and how to take a hit. You're in the pads and you know what it's going to be like," she said.

The students have gone to social media to reverse the decision, seeking signatures on the website

Within 24 hours, the group received more than 2,000 signatures.