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The Cherokee County Board of Education last month voted 5-1 to forfeit all games against Highlands High School over “safety concerns.” A trans player on the Highlands team injured a Hiwassee Dam High player’s head and neck with a spike to the face, resulting in concussion-like symptoms and ongoing vision problems, according to Education First Alliance.
Reported video of the incident shows a female player unable to get up and walk on her own for about one minute after being struck with a volleyball.
“Female high school volleyball player injured by transgender biological male in North Carolina,” a Facebook community called Binary captioned the video.
“I’ll never put a child in a position to be seriously injured,” Cherokee County board member Joe Wood said. “I think the odds (of injury) in these non-contact sports aren’t high. But in particular, in this meeting, a coach of 40 years said they’d never seen a hit like this. That was really what sealed the decision, at least on my part.”
Vice chair Jeff Martin noted the “competitive advantage” at play, which he suggested was trumped by “safety concerns.”
“The competitive advantage issue certainly has to come up in any scenario with that type of transgender conversion, per se,” he said. “I can tell you that the board wasn’t searching out this kind of thing. It was brought to our attention based on safety concerns.”
“The biggest thing for us, especially after seeing the video of the injury, we felt very strongly that it was a safety concern,” board member Jeff Tatham said. “I think most of the board members also felt like there’s a competitive advantage issue.
Cherokee County School Board member Arnold Mathews noted that the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) said, “It is the understanding of the NCHSAA that a local school system governs its athletic programs and at any time can determine for whatever reason that a school or team cannot play another school or team,” ABC 13 reported.
“While we would prefer that schools or teams play all games it schedules, that latitude does exist,” the NCHSAA added.