This story nearly made me sick while reading it for the first time. Five children recently suffered concussions last month in a Pop Warner football game and none of the boys were older than 12 years old. Rightly so, the game resulted in disciplinary action against both coaches and association presidents according to Boston.com.
The football game was played on Sept 15th, and how the story is only now getting national exposure, is beyond me. The five children who received concussions were all on the losing side of a game which finished with a score of 52-0 and some very angry and concerned parents. The winning team from Southbridge as well as refs and the league are now facing disciplinary action.
The coaches, Southbridge’s Scott Lazo and Tantasqua’s Erik Iller, were suspended for the remainder of the season and placed on probation through the 2013 season after a lengthy hearing Thursday conducted by Central Mass. Pop Warner.
The association presidents, Lazo’s brother, Doug Lazo of Southbridge, and Iller’s wife, Jen Iller of Tantasqua, also were placed on probation through the 2013 season because they attended the game and failed to take action, according to the hearing committee.
In addition, the three officials who worked the game have been permanently banned by Central Mass. Pop Warner.
If you are wondering why the refs were disciplined, it is because they should have stopped the game via the Mercy Rule. Pop Warner rules require officials to use the Mercy Rule if there is a 28 point lead in the game, and they neglected to do any such thing. They also have a simple obligation to stop the game if they considered the safety of the players to be at risk, and after five concussions it seems like that may have been a good time to do so.