Nine Priest River Football Players Have Suffered Concussions This Season

PRIEST RIVER, Idaho - We all know football can be a violent sport, but the high school team in Priest River is paying the price of the game in head injuries.

Nine players have received concussions this season, and one man is in a medically induced coma and the Priest River Lamanna High School Junior Varsity team has canceled this week's game because they don't have enough healthy players.

Chance Stokes, a Freshman tight end, was injured in his game last week.

"It was at the end of the game, so I just walked off the field. That's the last thing I remember," Stokes said.

Stokes will be out at least two more weeks, and can go back only after a concussion impact test, and with doctor's approval. He says, more importantly, his cousin Bobby Clark is fighting for his life after he was hit last week.

The trauma to Clark's brain was so bad, he was flown to Spokane and rushed into surgery. His family posted on Clark's website Wednesday they're worried he won't wake up.

"He was just laying there motionless, eyes wide open. Pupils dilated bad," Stokes remembered of the game last week.

Nine of the high school's 45 players are sidelined indefinitely. Freshman Trent Slinger's mom bought him and his brother their own helmet.

"Just because it was the nicest helmet at the time and our mom didn't want us to get concussions," Slinger said.

The school district says it can't afford to buy new helmets for all the players, but Superintendent Michael McGuire says they recondition one-third of the teams helmets every year. He added if the problem persists, future games may be canceled.

"Now we're looking at that very carefully, and we might be diagnosing more concussions, I don't know," McGuire said.

Now players like Chance Stokes are waiting for their cousin and friend to recover.

"It's been tough because I look at him like a brother, he's always been there for me," Stokes said.

Many of the football players are planning on shaving their heads to honor Bobby Clark, who had his head shaved before surgery. Bobby Clark's family has also set up a web page to give his status updates from the hospital. The website is located at