Originally posted at 12:17 Saturday. Updated for Sunday’s newsletter.
FRAMINGHAM – A scheduled football scrimmage between Framingham and Ashland High has been cancelled for Saturday, as many of the Framingham football coaches have been placed on “administrative leave,” as the school district investigates a practice that happened on Thursday, in which more than a dozen players suffered blisters on their hands.
The Ashland High football head coach sent an email to parents this morning, August 27, announcing the cancellation of the scrimmage, scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
In it, the Ashland coach wrote: “I regret to inform you that our scrimmage has been cancelled. Framingham has some major issues right now and let us know late last night that their coaching staff is in administrative leave and the whole program is shut down and under investigation. This is unfortunate news for our young men. We will be making the best of it though. We will be having our first ever inter squad blue and white game.”
Source has confirmed that some Framingham football coaches are on “administrative leave.”
A statement was issued to Framingham High parents, Saturday morning, as well. It reads:
“Many of you may already be aware of an incident that occurred on Thursday afternoon during football practice. During practice, a number of students were injured as a result of participating in team drills. Our Athletic Trainer tended to injured players. We will be investigating this incident and taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of all students moving forward. If there is additional pertinent information resulting from our investigation, we will share it with you as appropriate.”
On Thursday, during a conditioning exercise at Framingham’s practice, about 100 football players were doing “bear crawls” on the turf field behind the high school.
More than a dozen players eventually got blisters on the “heels of their hands.” Some of the blisters were as large as a silver dollar. Some parents called the injury just blisters, others described the injuries as “turf burns” that blistered.
The coaches had the players go see the trainer, who was inside the high school, and all were treated. The drills were halted.
Head football coach Gary Doherty emailed parents on Thursday. He wrote in his 26 years of coaching football, he had “never seen anything like this happen.” He said the “bear crawl” drill is safe and “time tested.”
He then told parents “due to the blisters today, we will not be using the bear crawl unless there are cooler temperatures.”
On Friday, more than a dozen football players were interviewed by Framingham High Principal Elyse Torbert and Vice Principal Jeff Convery, about the blisters and the Thursday practice session. Some of the football player’s hands were photographed.
The coaches, except for those not in attendance on Thursday, were placed on “administrative leave, and have had no contact with players on Friday.
The scrimmage for Saturday was cancelled by Framingham.
Phil Read Field, located behind Framingham High, is the turf field, where the players practiced on Thursday.
The field is in “rough” shape and is in need of repair.
The field is used for varsity field hockey games, boys and girls lacrosse games, and football practices.
It is the only turf field available to Framingham High athletics.
The cost to replace the field has been estimated at about $100,000.
Some Framingham and field hockey parents have complained about the condition of the field for the last three years, and at least one field hockey coach from another high school has questioned the liability of playing on the field in that condition.
Editor’s note: Below is the email that went to Ashland football parents this morning.