Pregnancy, volleyball and a teen-aged girl
The high-school volleyball season may be over in Fort Worth, Texas, but a controversy swirling around the sport there continues.
According to news reports, Mackenzie McCollum, a 17-year-old star player, was barred from playing when her coaches and school administrators learned she was pregnant. They wanted a letter from her doctor saying it was safe for her to play; apparently the first such letter she supplied would have required efforts to ensure her safety, such as monitoring her heart rate, that the school felt it couldn't accommodate. A second letter with no such restrictions arrived in time to get her back on the court, but McCollum says her playing time was curtailed.
McCollum reportedly has filed a federal claim saying the school's actions violate Title IX, a law that prohibits gender discrimination in educational activities that receive federal funds. McCollum, a senior, claims that her weeks of missed play may have hurt her chances to obtain a college volleyball scholarship.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology encourages women to exercise and participate in sports while pregnant (though it cautions against engaging in activities in which falling down is likely), and many female athletes have kept competing until their babies arrive.
But what would happen if the school had allowed McCollum to play and her baby had somehow been injured? If the young woman's willing to bring legal action in the current situation, is it much of a stretch to think she'd be inclined to do so in that instance?
This is surely not the last time this scenario will play out in an American high school. (It is playing out in the TV show Glee, in which a cheerleader is cut from the squad when her coach learns she's pregnant. That cheerleader's too busy singing and sorting out boyfriends to worry about Title IX.)
What do you think? Should McCollum have been allowed to keep playing? Or did the school do right in requiring a doctor's clearance first and then restricting her court time? Take today's poll, please!
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