By Patrick Burr
The Courier 

Scotties Football Coach Responds to Latent Concussion Fears


Scotties’ head coach Greg Liebelt sees talent abounding in Glasgow. Physical size, mental durability – the pickings for potential gridiron stars are hardly slim on the Hi-Line.

Yet Liebelt senses a participatory resistance. Some, he believes, have had their interest in the game artificially tempered and put off by recent, widely-publicized concerns of the potential long-term health issues stemming from a collection of seasons spent between the hash marks.

Liebelt is a football lifer bent on raising his Scotties program back to the erstwhile heights of its mid-80s glory days, when the school, playing in class A, took home the last of its three state titles.

Though the coach acknowledges the inherent risk of the game, he notes that studies have shown girls’ soccer and baseball to be among the collection of sports with a higher risk of concussion than his beloved game.

To help clarify his point – the dual revelation that both scientific proof and life lessons ranging from leadership to teamwork to acuity in the face of high stress – Liebelt calls attention to an open letter written by Eastern Michigan University head football coach Chris Creighton entitled, “To Moms of Boys Wanting to Play Football.”

Here follows an excerpt:

“Growing up on the West Coast, I played every sport I could – soccer, basketball, tennis, [swimming and bowling] -- but the only time I got to play football was at school during recess.

“My parents never allowed [football] to be an option for me. They didn’t want me to get hurt.... I really wanted to play, but my mom wouldn’t budge. [Then,] in the summer between sophomore and junior year [of high school], a group of my friends’ parents convinced her and she relented.

“I played that season of football and fell in love.... My life has never been the same.”

Coach Creighton goes on to say that “the game of football has so much to teach and give,” and credits it for instilling the values of selflessness, teamwork, toughness (mental, physical, and emotional) and racial understanding in his own life and the lives of the countless players he’s mentored since picking up the game. “We all want our boys to grow up to be responsible and effective in life,” writes Creighton. “Maintaining a strong marriage, raising kids, developing a career, and sticking to a value system all require commitment, responsiblility, and perseverance.... I submit to you that no other game develops [these habits] quite like the game of football.”

Creighton, in line with Liebelt, cites medical research concerning concussions as both the biggest threat to the sport’s participation numbers and a specious myth. The report Creighton cites found bike-riding as well as girls’ soccer to be more concussive, on aggregate, than football.

Creighton ends the article thanking God his mother allowed him to play the sport and imploring parents to allow their sons, if they so desire, to take up the sport.

Creighton, 46, was hired by EMU prior to the 2014 season. His previous coaching stints include Ottawa (in Kansas) College, Wabash College (in Indiana), where he led the Little Giants to the Quarterfinals of the 2007 NCAA Division III tournament, and Drake. He attended Kenyon College in Ohio, where he played quarterback from 1988-90.

The article’s full text can be found at .

Football camp was held at Scottie Field last week. Glasgow’s first game of the season is on Saturday, Aug 29, versus Colstrip.


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