FLAG FOOTBALL: All Pain, No Gain?

RC students are being injured at ridiculous rates, missing classes, having surgeries, and all in the pursuit of section glory. Is it worth the price?

No doubt you’ve seen them around campus-the walking (or limping) wounded. Casts. Splints. Crutches. Nose bandages. Neck braces. What happened? Then there are the effects of these maladies-missed classes, health care costs, missed social opportunities, not mixing alcohol with Vicodin-all adding insult to injury. What next?

Flag football has proven to have a higher beta than merely going to Shad for a workout, much to the dismay of both RC and EC students.

“The hand surgeon was phenomenal. I had two pins put in my fractured ring finger. The health insurance was great.” In an admirable display of making lemonade from lemons, Matt Wilson (OE) has found his massive hand splint to be a good conversation starter during EC interview week. His misfortunes came in a game against NA and have sidelined him for the season.

Aunim Hossain (NJ) had a similar experience. In another hand injury, his thumb was dislocated and fractured. Several operations, pins, and plates later, his thumb is finally good enough so he can make up the TOM midterm. The downsides of these injuries can spread. “My good friend Monica takes notes on my behalf, so I just have to wave my cast around, get called on, and make my patented confused and confusing remarks in class,” recounts Hossain. A nurse that attempted to help by treating his thumb like an Atari joystick went on to explain how this rash of hospital visits is expected on an annual basis.

The section that seems to have caught the injury bug the worst is New G. With ongoing displays of rampant aggressiveness and a disregard for any survival instinct, Gs continue to put team glory above all else at the expense of personal health. Joey Romeo required stitches in his chin after colliding with an offensive player, and John Roby broke and dislocated his finger while grabbing a flag. These both occurred against OA and permitted NG to carpool to the hospital at halftime. The loss of two key players seemed to solidify the defense, as NG emerged victorious with a scintillating 19-18 victory.

The women are not immune to flag football collisions. Priscilla Rodriguez (NG) suffered a mild concussion and Ashley Harmeling (OI) broke her arm during these heated contests.

Possibly the most glorious injury of all was a head-to-head collision on a fluttering pass on the last play of the half in one of NG’s games. Amit Jain got the worst of it with a broken nose that required nasal closed reduction surgery.

There are several presiding theories about the frequency of injury. Too many alpha males and females.everyone is too competitive.people haven’t done anything more athletic than beer pong since Bush’s first term. These are all easy excuses covering up the root cause.

Who can blame the competitors for wanting to win? They are just trying to keep up with everyone else. It is not cheating if you don’t get caught. But as it stands today, performance-enhancing drugs have obviously become a problem on the HBS campus. It’s about time we give former U.S. Senator George Mitchell a call and have him come down to launch a full investigation and provide a report prior to the basketball season.

Dan Monahan is a new writer for The Harbus. Writing is an art, and he failed art. Several times. Send random judgments to dmonahan@mba2011.hbs.edu