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High school notebook: McKeesport football player airlifted from practice

| Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, 10:09 p.m.

A 16-year-old McKeesport football player was airlifted to a hospital after sustaining a concussion at practice Tuesday morning.

Players were performing drills in full pads and helmets when a collision between two players occurred.

McKeesport Area School District spokesperson Kristen Giran said the student, whose name is not being released, was transported via medical helicopter from Weigle-Shaffer Memorial Stadium to Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.

Giran said the team's training staff and McKeesport Area Rescue Services personnel treated the student prior to transport, and doctors at the hospital diagnosed the boy with a concussion.

No other injuries were reported, and the teen is expected to recover.

“We're happy that he's doing well,” Giran said.

Tuesday's practices resumed that afternoon. Members of the coaching staff and district administration visited the injured teen in the hospital.

Football player eligible

A divided board ruled Seton-La Salle junior William Jackson eligible for football season following his transfer from Baldwin. After a hearing Monday in Green Tree, the WPIAL Board of Control voted, 8-5, to make him eligible.

Baldwin had considered the move athletically motivated. The 5-foot-11, 290-pound Jackson is a lineman.

“There was some disagreement between the parent and football coach,” WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said Tuesday. “In the testimony shared, it was the consensus decision of the board — albeit on a split vote — that he was eligible.”

Also, the board awarded an added year of eligibility to Mohawk brothers Christian and James Holmes, and approved an attendance waiver for Chartiers Valley's Josh Lapiana, making him eligible.

The WPIAL will hold a hearing Sept. 16 for Greensburg Central Catholic transfer William Hipp, formerly of Bishop McCort in Johnstown.

Board business

Prompted by a critical online comment directed toward a school administrator, the WPIAL board approved a stern social media policy. The new instruction, which also applies to board members, says “at no time should steering committee members engage in any form of negative, public criticism of the WPIAL, school districts and/or their employees.”

Also in the updated guidelines was a requirement to keep committee meeting details confidential, including when section alignments and playoff pairings are discussed. That request often hasn't been followed, O'Malley said.

Failure to comply could result in immediate termination.

The board approved 14 nominations to steering committees, including the addition of Brentwood principal Jason Olexa and North Catholic athletic director Mike Burrell to a group overseeing football. Gateway principal Bill Short joined the basketball committee.

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