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Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
SHREWSBURY - A youth football coach, who was suspended after an injured 10-year-old player was inadvertently returned to a game after he was sidelined by an EMT, has been reinstated.
James G. Ellis, the Fifth Grade team coach for the American Youth Football Shrewsbury Patriots, was suspended Sept. 12 until Oct. 9 after he allowed the injured player to go back into a game at Oak Middle School on Sept. 9. Mr. Ellis was not aware that the EMT had told the boy, his mother, and Ryan Soldo, president of the Shrewsbury American Youth Football Association, that the player would have to refrain from playing the remainder of the game.
On Monday, parents were emailed a notice signed by Mr. Ellis and Paul Dauderis, president of Central Massachusetts Youth Football and Cheer Conference (CMYFCC), which oversees 33 associations in about 60 towns, that Mr. Ellis, a coach for the past four years, was reinstated as of Sept. 15. The email said the decision came after the two men had a lengthy discussion.
"The suspension was the result of a player who was inadvertently put back into a game after being deemed ineligible by an EMT who neglected to inform any of the coaches on the Shrewsbury team," the notice read. "As the facts became known, it appears that, at the time of this event, there was not a concrete universal conference protocol pertaining to a situation such as this. All 33 teams within the conference had various interpretations of sideline protocols… It was determined that one standard protocol was necessary for the conference going forward."
Last week, Mr. Dauderis also placed the association on probation because it did not have the right protocol in place.
The reinstatement notice emailed to parents Monday did not mention the status of the association's probation.
Mr. Dauderis and Mr. Ellis did not return phone calls Tuesday seeking comments.
As a result of the incident, Mr. Dauderis, last week instituted a new standardized protocol for all 33 associations requiring the head coach to check with the EMT that the player is cleared after every injury.
He further said that EMTs are also now required to cross the name of any player ruled out off the minimum play sheet, note the time of the game, type of injury and sign the sheet.
The email to parents on Monday said Mr. Ellis' suspension was reduced to probation and both parties will work together to create a universal sideline policy.
The CMYFCC and "Coach Jamie Ellis … have mutually agreed to have Coach Ellis in his capacity as an attorney, draft a universal and uniform rule pertaining to EMT/coaches injury protocol when dealing with an injured player on the sideline. All 33 teams will be required to adhere to one rule without exception."
After the EMT sidelined the boy after a leg and head injury during the fourth quarter, Mr. Soldo, the association's president, handed the mother her son's helmet and told her that he could not resume playing. But, near the end of the game, the boy with his helmet on and mouthpiece in place, approached the coach and said he had been cleared to return to the game.
During the CMYFCC investigation, the mother said she thought her son couldn't go back in because the game was almost over. She said if he had been dizzy she wouldn't have allowed him to resume playing.
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