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Sunburns not part of the game
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: Have you ever heard of Accutane? It’s an acne medicine my son takes. One of its side effects is increased sensitivity to sunlight. That’s putting it gently. When my son gets home from football workouts, his whole face is sunburned. He’s been peeling like a snake! I’m all for him working out with the team, but I know these sunburns can’t be good. I’d like to talk to his coach and see if he could keep my son indoors until he’s off the medicine. Do you think that’s a bad idea? — Scarlet 

Dear Scarlet: Your son doesn’t want to be the only kid sitting in the AC while the rest of the team is out busting their collective humps in the heat. Trust me on this one.

Try sending a wide-brimmed hat to the workouts with your son. Tell him to explain the situation to his coach (athletes should always speak with the coach before a parent steps in). 

Maybe the coach would agree to something like this: Anytime the players are outside without a helmet, your son wears the hat. If they’re already wearing helmets, he should be covered!

Dear Athletic Support: My son was the backup quarterback for his high school team last year. From the little bit I’ve seen this summer, it’s looking like he’s going to be the backup again. I’m not saying my son should be the starter, but he is a good athlete. He should be on the field somewhere! I asked the coach why my son couldn’t play another position, and he said he didn’t want my son getting hurt. I guess being a backup QB is more important than being a starter anywhere else on the field? That didn’t make a lick of sense to me. How about you? — Dumb Ol’ Daddy

Dear Ol’ Daddy: There are a couple of factors to consider here. First, is your son really one of the best athletes on the team? If he is, it’s hard for me to believe this coach would keep him on the bench. 

The only way this makes sense is if there’s absolutely no other option at quarterback beyond your son. Having someone who can run the offense is invaluable, and if your son is the only other player capable of getting the job done, it’s very important for him to stay healthy. 

Dear Athletic Support: My daughter’s twelve-year-old softball team has a tournament scheduled for every weekend left in the summer. We’ve already been all over the state, rubbing shoulders with large crowds, and the worst part? My daughter’s not even getting to play! With all the health risks involved, I’m not sure if finishing out this summer season is worth it. — Right Field

Dear Right Field: Under normal circumstances, I’d tell you to stick the season out. It’s what you signed up for. Regardless of whether your daughter’s getting to play, she needs to finish what she started.

However, things are far from normal right now. If you feel your family’s health is compromised by traveling to these tournaments every weekend, then by all means, call it quits! But make sure that’s the reason, and not your daughter’s playing time. 

 Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to or visit 

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