There were off-season weeks on my high school football team--I secured a permanent spot at left out--when we could not practice in pads or make any "football" moves on a field. So our coaches threw us in the pool to play water polo or onto a ball field for rugby, the latter ritual ending after I "knocked out" two of my front teeth during a scrum that had me leaning down face first as an opponent leaned up back-of-head first.
Our trainer, a gruff old guy who had the demeanor of a seen-and-heard-it-all bartender, looked at my mouth and then back into my eyes with an expression matching the faces of the first Allied soldiers to view concentration camps. He pointed me toward a mirror, which made it appear as if my left front tooth and the one next to it were gone.
As we'd learn from an emergency room doctor, those teeth had actually been knocked to the back of my mouth and were still attached. They were pushed back into place and are still attached thanks to a root canal.
This trip down memory lane was brought to you by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, which brought my personal history to mind with its rejection of a $28,000 claim filed by a Costa Mesa High School baseball player who lost his four front teeth during "horseplay" on the diamond. (No wonder they're called the Mustangs.)
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The claim of the unnamed student explains he was wrestling with a teammate when he was pushed onto a baseball that broke his grill. The student deserves the $28k, which should cover current and future dental care, because Coach Paul Grady neglected to properly supervise the team, according to the complaint.
Trustees voted unanimously to reject the claim last week, which could set the stage for a lawsuit.
What a stooge I was; it never even occurred to me and my family to sue my school district for my dental accident, which led to future complications I still have not fully dealt with (thanks, non-Obamacare).