Safety concerns grow as high school football team uses equipment decades old

Coach Derrick Norris says It's a challenge to get his team ready due to lack of school funding.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The hard hits of high school football aren't limited to the game for the kids playing for the Mastbaum Panthers.

It's a challenge for the coach to get his team ready for the field.

A lot of the equipment the students have to use is decades old, there aren't enough helmets for everyone who wants to play, and the team doesn't have a complete weight room.

"Football, you have to get yourself strong, and they really don't have that opportunity," said Mastbaum Panther's coach Derrick Norris.

The school says it doesn't have the budget, but the safety of the players concerns the coach for more than one reason.

"We know the city that we live in. Unfortunately, we have murders every day, and these kids, they need an outlet so they can play and stay off the streets," said Norris.

The pandemic is playing a part in this too. Usually, the school makes money for the football team doing fundraisers like selling food at the games, but the school says Philadelphia's Department of Health isn't allowing that.

"What are we going to do to help protect our guys? To make sure they are able to practice and train and be safe while they're doing it? What can we do to help the coach help these guys?" asked alumnus Laquana Gibbasan who decided to start a fundraiser.

Gibbas has collected about $3,000 so far. The coach says they'll need 10 times that to get the kids what they need.

"If we get some changes around, we can get our kids equipped to be able to compete on a weekly basis," said Norris.

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