When it comes to NHS sports, most would say that football is the first thing to come to mind. However, in a school known for football, not many can say how Staver Field earned its name. 

Staver Field is Naples High School’s athletic football field where the football team plays numerous games. 

Pete Staver, a former football player at NHS, died tragically on the field after suffering a massive blow to the head. Back in 1975, helmets and other safety equipment were not as safe as they are today, which could have saved lives like Staver’s. 

When Staver collapsed on the field after a direct hit to his head, paramedics were too late and there was little they could do. Staver was already having convulsions, and when he arrived at the hospital he was in an irreversible coma and was pronounced dead three days later. 

  “There’s a sideline assessment that I typically do and it’s based off of what is called the SCAT five,” NHS Athletic Trainer Brent Theriault said. “It’s a largely implemented concussion test and it deals with your balance, awareness of where you’re at, your concentration and immediate memory.”

During football games, coaches and the athletic team look for any players with signs of a concussion, which results in immediate removal from the field. 

NHS has a baseline concussion test in place that students have to take before joining sports.

The test allows the athletic trainer to know how the athletes’ brains work.

This is to ensure that the players are safe and are able to play without any chances of long term extensive brain damage. 

“The Florida High School Athletic Association does a great job with safety regulations and Brent and the coaches also make sure that we are safe throughout the season,” football player Michael Fangman said. 

Over the years, football helmets have changed from suspension helmets to water bladder helmets, to air bladder helmets, to a full padded helmet surrounding their heads. 

“They have taken slits out of the helmets to make the compression of the hits absorb more and the mouthpieces have changed in regards to football safety,” NHS football coach Ricky Martin said. 

Student safety is a top priority at Naples High School. Also due to Staver’s tragic accident, safety regulations have improved and equipment has changed to create a safer environment for the football players.