High School Highlights

Protecting young athletes from injury

19SPORTOne of the responsibilities that parents take most seriously is protecting their children from injury, whether it is buckling seat belts in a car or wearing a helmet while riding a bike. When their kids become teenagers and want to participate in sports or other activities, parents do everything they can to keep their sons and daughters from getting hurt.

But not all injuries are caused by a twist, fall, collision or accident. Many are caused when young athletes repeat the same athletic activity so often that muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones don’t have time to recover – especially among middle school and high school students. These injuries can end promising careers, cost families tens of thousands of dollars, squash dreams and literally change lives.

Examples include elbow and arm injuries to teenagers who play baseball or softball all year long, shoulder injuries to year-round swimmers, wrist and elbow injuries to gymnasts and stress fractures to soccer players.

The culprit, most often, is what’s commonly known as “sport specialization,” the process of playing the same sport all year long with the goal of either gaining a competitive edge or earning a college scholarship. It involves intense, year-round training in a single sport.

Research shows that sport specialization is putting teenage athletes at risk. According to a study commissioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations and conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin, high school athletes who specialize in a single sport are 70 percent more likely to suffer an injury during their playing season than those who play multiple sports.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says much the same. It reports that “overuse injuries” (injuries caused when an athletic activity is repeated so often that parts of the body do not have enough time to heal) are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle school and high school students.

There is a solution. Young athletes should be encouraged to play multiple sports.

When student-athletes cross-train, they work different muscle groups and joints, which, in fact, results in better overall conditioning. They also develop a new set of athletic skills like hand-eye coordination, balance, endurance, explosion and agility that are transferable to their primary sport. It’s no coincidence that 30 of the 32 first-round picks in the 2017 National Football League draft played multiple sports in high school.

Parents can play a key role in preventing these overuse injuries by encouraging their kids to play multiple sports rather than pushing them to specialize in one sport. They will have more fun, will be less likely to suffer burnout and will actually become better athletes.

Golden Bulls hope to build on rapid rise to top

18Toshiro Spivey E.E. SmithE.E. Smith came within one win of a worst-to-first turnaround in football last season.

Deron Donald’s Golden Bulls tied for last place in the old Mid-South 4-A Conference in 2016, only to finish in a tie for second place in the Patriot Athletic Conference last season, going 9-4 and earning a first-round state 4-A playoff win over West Carteret.

“We want to continue what we’ve started,’’ said Donald.

Smith will be hard-pressed to repeat the performance this year as the Golden Bulls were seniorheavy in 2017 and suffered major graduation losses.

“We had a big senior class and they all played vital roles in our success,’’ Donald said. “Right now we’re trying to find some true leaders, people that can carry the torch and keep it going in the right direction.’’

Among the biggest departures was versatile quarterback Xeavier Bullock, who earned a scholarship at Fayetteville State University. He was one of two 2,000-yard passers in the Patriot Conference last season, throwing for 2,165 yards and 22 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

The heir apparent to Bullock at quarterback is senior Angel Holden. Holden saw limited action last season, getting a chance to play quarterback when Bullock was briefly sidelined by injury. Holden completed eight of 15 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown while throwing no interceptions.

“His approach and offseason preparation has been excellent,’’ Donald said of Holden. “We hope he can be the leader we know he can be and keep it going in the right direction.’’

Smith’s top returner at any position is the talented Toshiro Spivey, wide receiver. Spivey had 37 catches for 612 yards and five touchdowns a year ago.

“We’re counting on him to do a lot of good things for us,’’ Donald said.

Spivey said he’s already been working with Holden during the spring to improve the chemistry between the two. “He can move, and he throws the ball very well,’’ Spivey said of Holden.

As for the whole team, despite the graduation losses, Spivey thinks the Golden Bulls learned a lot from the experience of going from 3-8 to 9-4 in one year.

“The key thing is the foundation is already laid,’’ Spivey said. “It’s all about building on it.’’

Although the Golden Bulls will be young this season, Spivey thinks the team will make up for lack of experience with a bundle of speed and overall athleticism.

By the time fall workouts officially open in a couple of weeks, Spivey is hopeful Smith will be cohesive. “I want everybody to know what we’re doing, what we’re fighting for,’’ he said, “everybody in one accord, one mindset.’’

The key for everyone will be gaining maturity quickly, Donald said. “There’s no one area of concern,’’ he said. “We’ve just got to grow up and grow up fast.’’


PHOTO: Toshiro Spivey

Football championships in Charlotte good idea, but ...

16panthersDavid Tepper, new owner of the Carolina Panthers, met with the media last week after the sale of the team was finalized.

One of the subjects he discussed was a desire to see the Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium host state high school championship games.

Charlotte hasn’t hosted a football final since 1987 when Garner beat Charlotte Harding 40-21 at Memorial Stadium.

I don’t have a problem with moving some state football finals to Bank of America Stadium, but not at the expense of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association ending its relationship with Duke, Wake Forest, NC State and UNC to hold championship games at their stadiums.

The NCHSAA has eight football title games each year. The question would be who plays where.

With Winston-Salem (Wake Forest) and Charlotte in the mix, you’d have two venues that would qualify as western in orientation. One thing that could enter into the equation is seeding. You could give “home” field preference, East vs. West, for the finals to whoever is the higher seeded team.

The big plus with eight games, if you use all five venues every year, is two venues will only get a maximum of one game. Not having to share a stadium for a second game would be nice for the competing schools.

It’s an offer worth exploring, and I thank Tepper for making it.

On another note – congratulations to Jarvis Cobb, who has been named the varsity boys basketball coach at Douglas Byrd High School. Cobb comes to the Eagles after serving as junior varsity coach at Hoke County. In addition to coaching basketball, Cobb will teach career and technical education at Byrd.

Student-athletes honored, visit NC Sports Hall of Fame

17CFHS at NCHSOF with Jerry McGeeA group of student-athletes and chaperones from Cape Fear High School was among the 258 student-athletes from all over North Carolina participating in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame’s Salute To Student-Athlete Program earlier this year.

The program recognized students from across the state and exposed them to the many positive lessons to be learned from North Carolina’s outstanding sports heritage.

Those attending from Cape Fear included student athletes Mark Burks, Jaylen Hudson, Matt Raynor, Walker Brittain, Amelia Shook and Taylor Melvin. The chaperones included Amey Shook and Kelly Melvin.

A total of 39 different schools from 21 different counties across the state were represented by the student-athletes who attended the program.

The two-day event included a special reception and attendance at ceremonies where the newest class of inductees to the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame were inducted at the Raleigh Convention Center. On the following day, the student-athletes toured the state’s hall of fame exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of History and participated in a seminar involving some of North Carolina’s most celebrated sports figures.

Speakers at the seminar included former UNCChapel Hill basketball star Phil Ford, former professional football star Jeff Bostic and a special panel discussion featuring several members of the induction class.

The student-athletes were invited to sign up for Hall Pass, a free program that offers special opportunities. Each Hall Pass member receives interesting information about the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame and the state’s sports heritage, including a monthly newsletter and special features in advance before the general public. Any student athlete can sign up to become a Hall Pass member by visiting www.ncshof.org and clicking on Hall Pass.

N.C. Sports Hall of Fame members being inducted this year included golfer Donna Andrews, former major league baseball player Scott Bankhead, Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek, former Duke football star Wes Chesson, champion surfer and basketball standout Mindy Ballou Fitzpatrick, football coach and administrator Bill Hayes, college baseball coach Mike Martin, major league umpire Joe West and Charlotte Hornets executive Fred Whitfield.

Posthumous inductees were high school coaching legends Jack Holley and Paul Jones, tennis standout Laura DuPont, former major league baseball players Hal “Skinny” Brown and Jakie May, and former N.C. State baseball all-American Chris Cammack of Fayetteville.


PHOTO: L to R: Dr. Jerry McGee, Lilly Terwilliger, Mark Burks, Jaylen Hudson, Tyler Britt, Amelia Shook.

Parrous, Walker represent county in All-Star games

The annual East-West All-Star games and North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic returns to Greensboro the week of July 16-19.

The clinic annually draws thousands of high school coaches in various sports to Greensboro for clinic sessions with a variety of speakers covering sports specifics and changes in the rules.

In conjunction with the clinic, the East-West All-Star games are held in boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer and football.

Schedule for the All-Star games

Group ticket rates are available in advance of the All-Star games. Call 336-379-9095 for details.

• Basketball: Monday at Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Parking: $5, Coliseum main lot. Game times: Girls at 6:30 p.m.; boys approximately 30 minutes after the girls game.

• Soccer: Tuesday at Macpherson Stadium, Bryan Park Soccer Complex. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Parking: Macpherson Stadium lot. Game times: Girls at 6:30 p.m.; boys at 8:30 p.m.

• Football: Wednesday at Greensboro Grimsley’s Jamieson Stadium. Halftime fireworks display. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Parking: Free in main parking lot. Representatives of the Oasis Shrine will be taking donations for the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospitals. Game time: 8 p.m.

Cumberland County All-Stars Profiles

At press time, only two athletes were scheduled to take part in the games, Talia Parrous of Terry Sanford for East girls soccer and Greg Walker of Seventy-First for East football. There are no Cumberland County coaches on the staff of any of this year’s all-star teams.

21Talia Parrous Terry Sanford soccer• Talia Parrous, Terry Sanford East girls soccer 5-foot-6, forward.

Coach: Karl Molnar

Highlights: All-State as a senior. Scored 31 goals and had 23 assists. As a junior, Parrous was All-State, All-Region, All-Conference and the Cape Fear Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Fayetteville Observer Player of the Year. She scored 25 goals and had 14 assists. As a  sophomore, she had 24 goals and six assists. She also played basketball. She was a member of the National Honor Society, the Twelfth Man Club, Friends Club, French Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She signed an athletic grant-in-aid with UNC-Wilmington to play soccer. She will most likely major in sports management or nutrition. Her mother is her role model.




22Greg Walker Seventy First• Greg Walker, Seventy-First East football 6-foot-2, 260, offensive line.

Coach: Duran McLaurin

Highlights: As a senior, Walker was All-Conference, All-Region and All-910 All-Star. He won the Prestigious Helmet Award and had 18 pancake blocks. As a junior he was named Most Valuable Offensive Lineman. He signed an athletic grantin- aid with Johnson C. Smith where he will major in business. Coach Kellikai Aipia is his role model.

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