Wednesday, December 11, 2013
On Tuesday night I covered the Bangor-Messalonskee girls basketball game. Kate Treadwell had a nice game off the bench for Bangor, so I asked Rams coach Katie Herbine about Treadwell after the game.
Herbine mentioned Treadwell missed nearly a full year with an injury, so naturally, I asked Herbine what the injury was.
"Um, can't really talk about it," Herbine said, "because of the privacy laws."
Maybe I'm ignorant, but I didn't know there were privacy laws regarding the disclosure of an injury to a high school student. This is especially odd because a quick Google search will tell you that both WABI-TV and the Bangor Daily News have reported that Clark suffered a concussion in a game against Mt. Blue.
I must be old-fashioned, because the way I always do it is to ask the coach or player about the injury. Usually, they tell me what the injury is. If they ask it to be off the record, I don't repeat it. I mean, I'm writing about high school kids, so if the coach thinks the student doesn't want the reason for the injury publicized for some reason, that's good enough for me. If the player missing games is something I feel should still be in the paper, I'll work with the coach and we can find a way to say that without revealing too much.
But I can't remember a coach ever telling me that the law prevented them from telling me how a player got injured. If you're a lawyer, and I'm missing something, please let me know.
Gary Hawkins has worked at the Kennebec Journal since 1980. His primary beats are baseball, boys basketball, girls and boys soccer and golf.