Football tackle leaves Edinburgh teen with serious injuries

Steven Bailey
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Updated: .

An Edinburgh High School football player is at Riley Hospital after what looked like a routine hit on the football field left him seriously hurt.

His parents rushed him to the hospital after he collapsed at halftime. He eventually had to be flown by helicopter to Riley because his injuries were so severe.

"I've seen him get hit like that a hundred times. I wasn't concerned," said Harvey Bailey of the hit his son Steven took just before halftime last Friday in a game against Manual.

"I thought it was just getting the wind knocked out of him," said Bailey.

What Steven's parents, coaches and trainers didn't know, though, was that he was bleeding internally from a torn kidney, spleen and injury to his lungs.

"Last thing I thought was internal bleeding," said Bailey of his son's injuries.

Doctors discovered that internal bleeding almost an hour later, after Steven's parents drove him to the Saint Francis Hospital Emergency Room. From there, Steven was taken by helicopter to Riley, trying to recover precious minutes he'd lost because no one realized his injuries were so severe.

"I think an ambulance should have to be there, because you never know how bad it's going to be," said Susan Bailey.

"Every football filed we've played at, there's been an ambulance there," said Harvey Bailey.

According to the Indiana High School Athletic Association, though, ambulances at games are not required.

"In a perfect world, yes, you'd love to see an ambulance at every single game, but then the question then is begged, 'Well, why don't you have an ambulance at every soccer match? Why don't you have an ambulance at every basketball game? Why don't you have any ambulance at every cross country meet?'" said Bobby Cox, the IHSAA commissioner.

According to Cox, equipment to protect a football player's ribs and organs isn't required either. Cox said that could change at some point.

"The game is changing and we've all decided that the game is faster, stronger. It's more violent," explained Cox.

Right now, the only equipment that's required of high school football players is a helmet, shoes, shoulder pads, mouthpiece, and pants that are padded at the knees, thighs and tailbone.

Supplemental equipment like rib cage protector must be covered by a football jersey and not have any hard edges.

The Baileys said Steven will be wearing a rib protector next year. They said he wants to wear it and they'll feel better if he's wearing one.

"I just don't think it should be required because this is such a freak thing, I mean, this is one in a million," said Harvey Bailey.

One in a million, where their son Steven, turned out to be that one.

"As a parent, don't take their injuries lightly, you just never know," said Susan Bailey.

The Baileys and Steven know now, though.

Steven's parents said he's doing well and could be out of the hospital as soon as Thursday. He won't be back on the field until next season.