Budget crisis leaves more teens injured at worn out Mililani High - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Budget crisis leaves more teens injured at worn out Mililani High School field

Kaimi Andres Kamakau Kaimi Andres Kamakau
Sharyn Kodama Sharyn Kodama
Principal John Brummel Principal John Brummel
Trent McKinney Trent McKinney

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

MILILANI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Here's a new twist on Hawaii's budget crisis - the lack of funding is giving teenagers broken bones and concussions.

This, on a field that was supposed to be fixed by now.

The field at Mililani High School is in pretty good shape right now. That's because the grass has had time to recover from the football and soccer seasons. But if you take a look at some of the brown patches, we're told that at the field's worst, they stretch from end zone to end zone.

"I had two injuries. I broke my ankle and then I tore my ACL," said Kaimi Andres Kamakau, a football player for Mililani High School.

With a slanted field, and holes scattered throughout the grass, athletic leaders say major injuries are up.

Here are the alarming numbers, from last school year to this school year, according to Sharyn Kodama, one of Mililani High's athletic trainers:

                                    2007-2008            2009-2010

Ankle injuries                     8                           13

Knee surgeries                  3                           10

Concussions                      1                             5

Kodama says this school year's concussions are just within the past soccer season alone, from December to February.

"And these are concussions not just from head-to-head, these are head-to-ground contact, because the ground becomes so hard," said Kodama.

There is money to fix the field - $2.5 million, according to Principal John Brummel.

"Last year the Legislature approved it, through the House and Senate. The DOE didn't feel like that it was a high enough priority item. Same thing happened this year," said Brummel.

At Tuesday night's Mililani Neighborhood Board meeting, the community urged the Department of Education to release the funds.

They say the field has hit its breaking point from all the sports traffic it gets, not just from the high school, but from OIA, OC 16 and ILH.

"Can't really let the patches grow grass or anything because people are constantly using it so the turf would eliminate that problem," said Trent McKinney, quarterback for Mililani High School's football team.

Another issue is mud. When it's raining, the field gets too slippery for athletes to play on. When it's dry, it's like playing on cement. Mililani High School hopes all the safety hazards will convince the DOE to take action.

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