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HS Player Who Headbutted Ref May Be Tried as Adult

Jason Scott

A 17-year-old high school football player finds himself in legal trouble, after he appeared on video headbutting an official during a game in late August.

TV station WOIO reports that incident occurred in an Aug. 31 game between Dayton Dunbar (Ohio) High School and Cincinnati Roger Bacon. The player, a Dunbar student, was on the field wearing a helmet at the time, and according to investigators headbutted the official after the team was penalized. 

Related: Headbutted Official Testifies Before Ohio State Senate

The incident, which took place about five minutes into the game’s second quarter, was captured on video.

The referee suffered a concussion, and is dealing with lingering health issues, according to Montgomery County prosecutor Mat Heck Jr., who is seeking now to try the juvenile player as an adult. 

“This incident was sickening,” Heck said in a statement announcing the motion to transfer the player to adult court. “The defendant clearly became angry with the game official and seriously assaulted him. This was beyond unsportsmanlike conduct — this was a felonious assault and this defendant should be held accountable. Football is a contact sport, but a referee should never be in fear of being physically attacked by a player.”

According to Heck’s statement, the player who attacked the official was the one flagged on the previous play. The penalty that set off the whole affair was Dunbar’s 12th of the game. 

Sports officials at all levels have had to deal with increasing scrutiny and unsportsmanlike behavior, either from players, parents, fans are coaches. The situation has contributed to a nationwide shortage in people willing to don the stripes. 

Ohio lawmakers are reportedly considering legislation that would make any assault on a referee a felony.

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