School board acts after trans volleyball player injures rival (VIDEO)
An education board in North Carolina has voted to forfeit girls’ volleyball games against a school from a rival district after a player was reported to have suffered head and neck injuries in an incident involving a transgender opponent.
The Cherokee County Board of Education voted 5-1 in favor of the step last month, although the story has only just made headlines in the US and beyond.
The scandal emerged when a player from the Hiwassee Dam High School team was said to have been on the receiving end of a powerful ‘spike’ – when the ball is slammed sharply downwards – by a trans player on the rival Highlands School team.
According to reports, the victim suffered long-term concussion symptoms and has still not been cleared to return to games by a neurologist or primary care physician.
Grainy footage purportedly showing the moment of the injury was shared online, while it has been estimated that the spiked ball was traveling at 70mph (112kph), according to The Daily Mail.
Neither player involved in the incident has been named.
A debate on the issue at Cherokee County Board of Education last month included arguments for and against continuing to compete against the school in question.
Safety concerns were played down by some members of the discussion, although vice chair Jeff Martin argued that there was “a competitive advantage and a safety concern for certain teams.”
One participant stated to the board that he hoped they would vote “based on their morals, ethics and Christian upbringing,” according to the minutes of the meeting.
It was ultimately decided that the county “will not participate in any volleyball games, varsity or junior varsity, against Highlands due to safety concerns.”
The participation of trans athletes in women’s sport continues to be a hugely contentious issue.
In US college sport, debate has been further fueled by a series of record-breaking performances from trans swimmer Lia Thomas.
Thomas formerly competed as a man before changing to compete in women’s events at the University of Pennsylvania after transitioning.