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Reporting injuries

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    This afternoon, I was covering a state tournament lacrosse game and I was interviewing a kid on the winning team who scored four goals. I noticed one of his hands was bandaged and he was icing it. I asked him about it and he said his thumb was broken.
    When I was done talking to him, he asked me not to write about the injury and his mother also made the same request. They explained that if it was in the paper, other teams would know about it and target it.
    I didn't say I'd honor their request but I didn't say I wouldn't. I did, however, point out that because we're a weekly, the story is not going to come out until after the next (and likely the final) game, so it was probably a moot point.
    I realize that the potential for other teams targeting an injury based on what's in the paper might be a reasonable concern for them, but it's not really my problem. I do tend to think people worry a little much about other teams getting their scouting information from papers that are out of their circulation area, however. I don't think coaches, as part of the scouting process, make trips into rival towns to pick up copies of the local paper and they probably wouldn't learn anything they didn't already know if they were scouting the games in person.
    Does anybody here think there's anything wrong with reporting injuries if it may leave an other vulnerable to further injuries or if it puts a team at a competitive disadvantage?
    Also, what do you tell these people so it doesn't seem like you're caving in to them, but also not coming off as a total dick?
  2. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    No, but you better believe they are reading out-of-area stories on the internet...
  3. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    My wrist hurts sometimes after lots of typing. And I get paper cuts pretty often. Plus, my right shoulder is higher than my left from carrying my computer bag on my shoulder.

    Oh, I thought you meant injuries incurred in the process of reporting. My bad.
  4. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    That's why you hear so much about "upper-body injuries" and "lower-body injuries" in the NHL. Teams don't want opponents to work their players over in the area of the injury. But NHL writers definitely print the specific injury if they are told and you should report the lacrosse player's injury as well.
  5. Babs

    Babs Member

    I don't report the injury if it's something that could be targeted. I don't want that on my conscience. I sleep well at night this way. I have the right to report it, but I choose not to.

    After the playoffs are over, etc., then you better believe I'm spilling the beans though. I think the readers are equally interested/enlightened when it comes out later. So it's all good.

    Smallpotatoes, in your situation, basically the player is saying his statement about his injury is off the record. How is that different than any other kinds of info? Seems like here you shouldn't write that it's broken, since that was off the record, but could write that it was bandaged and being iced. If you chose to of course. Again, I probably wouldn't.

    Side note: I was discussing an injury in an elevator with another media member, and an EMT warned me that the coach was not allowed to release medical information on a player due to federal privacy laws. Um, yeah. While legally he might be right, he's out to lunch if he thinks a player's medical history is going to stay secret.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I hope you're not serious.
  7. sportshack06

    sportshack06 Member

    I'll report - but doesnt mean the SE here won't take it out.

    He was the one who refrained from putting in any mention of Podunk High's leading returning scorer getting booted off the hoops team this year. He cited "everyone already knows" as his reasoning for not printing it; when I had dozens of people in the town asking me why Juvenile Delinquent Junior hadn't been playing.

    He sent a stringer to cover Podunk one night, and stringer mentioned this fact in his story, quoted the head coach and he edited from the story. Apparently the SE was in tight with this school and has yet to report a negative word or story, because he, "doesn't like to be negative".
  8. boots

    boots New Member

    Report the injury but use common sense. I wouldn't have a problem leaving out the injury if the guy continued to perform well. If he didn't then you could use it as an excuse for subpar play.
  9. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    This came up at my shop as well. My thoughts - if you have it on a good source, run it. What the other team does is not your responsibility. Sure, they may have read your report, but you did not tell them to go for the ankle, wrist, or whatever. Not to mention, your paper may be the third or fourth source they hear it from. News travels fast in prep circles.
  10. housejd

    housejd Member

    Unless he specified that information was off the record before he said it, it's by all means fair game. He knew he was talking to a reporter. Sorry, but you can't say something AND THEN say it's off the record.
  11. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Well-Known Member

    We had a wrestler this year get a concussion right before the state meet, but was cleared to compete. We wrote about it in the preview and after his first state match. We knew what was going on because we had a reporter at the district meet who saw him hit his head in the championship match. He was declared the winner because the other wrestler was disqualified for using an unsafe move.

    Kid talked about the concussion after his first-round match, then claimed after his next match the following day that we put him in danger by writing about his injury. We knew what was going on, we had the facts right. I had no qualms writing about it.

    About the lacrosse player _ was his hand bandaged or taped during the match? If so, opponents already know he's injured.
  12. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I believe the EMT was referring to HIPPA laws. Every good reporter should be familiar with the HIPPA laws, and every good preps writer should be familiar with the FERPA laws.

    Reporters do not have to follow these laws, just be familiar with them so you know what questions to ask a trainer/coach/doctor/administrator who is hiding behind those laws.
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