After great short on the NCAA and March Madness a couple of weeks ago, the PBS investigative program Frontline turned its attention to the culture of high school football with “Football High” last night.
Naturally, it wasn’t all pom-poms and pep bands. Frontline examined some of the darker aspects of the sport as it visited with Shiloh Christian (Ark.) and several of its rivals in Arkansas and Texas, namely the higher-profile, high-stakes culture that has seeped from the NFL and college and its effects on the athletes and coaches involved.
Frontline touched on the kids who have moved into town to become part of the Shiloh program, hoping to boost their recruiting profiles with the help of promoters. It looked at some of the team’s top recruits. It talked with coaches and parents hoping to elevate the program’s profile into the national stratosphere.
Then it delved into the exponential evolution of size and speed of the high school game, and its dangerous side effects — specifically, heat stroke, concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the stunning new discoveries about the overall violence of the game.
It was still a tremendous, eye-opening and even heart-breaking feature that everybody should check out, if just to be deeply aware of some of the sport’s greater issues.
You can watch the whole thing right here, or on PBS.