Running the track during a sporting event


The track and turf field at Glen Rock High School.

by Olivia Traphagen

Running the track during a sporting event should be allowed.

Though lacrosse balls can be dangerous, the person running the track should be held accountable if he or she gets hurt, not the player who threw the ball.

A runner should be allowed to run the track at any time — the turf field and the track are two separate things.

There are those, however, who believes this idea is perilous.

Ms. Susan Giesemann, the athletic trainer believes that running the track during a boys’ lacrosse game, or a practice, can be very dangerous.

During sporting events, I don’t think people should run the track because hypothetically during a lacrosse game, you could potentially get hit by a lacrosse ball,” Geisemann said. “We’re held liable if you were to get injured, and we would be considered negligent because we allowed you to run.”

If a lacrosse ball were to hit a runner in the head or the temple, the runner could suffer from a concussion or even death.

Although there can be very critical conditions from getting hit in the  head with a lacrosse ball, the school should consider investing in nets to go around the field, to block any dangers that can come a runner’s way.

An estimated amount of 1.6-3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the United States every year. From 2001-2005, children from 5-18 years of age accounted for 2.4 million sports-related emergency department visits a year, and 135,000 cases involved a concussion. High school athletes sustain an estimated amount of 300,000 concussions a year.

“Some of the lacrosse balls when you are shooting on goal, it’s like 60 miles an hour,” Giesemann said.

Considering the dangers, certain accommodations should be made for runners.

If there is a sports game the day of, or over the weekend, it should be announced so runners do not show up at the track, and are asked to leave. The track is a place for everyone, and it has nothing to do with the turf field. In fact, the turf field and the track are completely irrelevant to each other–they are created for completely different events.

During practice, it is a controlled environment rather than an uncontrolled environment, and the girls are on the upper-field. There are nets, but it’s not a game,” Giesemann said.

If runners have permission to run the track during the weekend, or when a practice is taking place, running the track during a game should be just as permitted.

In other sporting events, potentially in the fall, you could be a distraction to players,” Giesemann said. “Let’s say for a football game, the cheerleaders use the track for the games, so you could get hurt whether it’s from a soccer ball or a lacrosse ball.”

Mr. Michael Escalante, the high school’s lacrosse coach and physical education teacher, also thinks that it is dangerous to run the track during a lacrosse sporting event.

“For me, there is a big difference between boys’ lacrosse and girls’ lacrosse, just because of the way the game is played and the type of sticks that they use,” Escalante said.

He believes that during a girls’ lacrosse practice, it is okay to run the track because there are nets behind the goals.

“Certainly a pass could end up on the track, but the more dangerous thing is someone getting hit in the head with a shot because those are fast,” Escalante said.

Even slipping on the ball while running the track can lead to injury.  

“For the boys, I think that runners should not run the track during a practice or game because the ball is moving so fast. God forbid someone get hit in the head,” Escalante said. “That could be a very serious injury, as well, even though the odds aren’t great. It’s still something that could happen and the school wouldn’t want to be held responsible for that.” 

Runners should be able to run the track if they showed up at the field without the announcement of a game. If a runner wants to run the track, they should be able to, even with some of the dangerous risks.