Illness hits high school; Football game canceled

By Chuck Weber email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX)-It's Friday night, but one local school doesn't have enough healthy players to field a football team. Swine flu is the likely culprit-- hitting the team and the entire upper school campus of the Benjamin School in Palm Beach Gardens.

Principal Jay Selvig says absences were significantly higher than normal this week, although he declined to give numbers or percentages.

Benjamin's football coach had less than a third of his players at practice. "We had five varsity players at practice on Tuesday," exclaimed head coach Ron Ream. "Seven Wednesday. Nine yesterday."

With those kind of numbers, Benjamin canceled its scheduled game at American Heritage in Delray Beach. "We wouldn't have had a full varsity team to even take down," explained Coach Ream.

Benjamin ultimately agreed to forfeit the contest because of scheduling conflicts and American Heritage's playoff prospects.  Illness at Palm Beach Gardens High forced cancellation of a game in September.

Benjamin principal Selvig says while students have been absent in large numbers, most teachers have stayed well and classes have continued normally. Selvig says teachers are covering material more slowly since so many students will have to catch up.