USA Football and other in the football community have condemned an incident at a youth football practice where a young player sustained an extremely violent hit.
Video of the incident, which happened last September, went viral and shows a violent, helmet-to-helmet collision between to youth football players engaged in a tackling drill.
Christopher Duggan, A lawyer for the youth football program Wesley Chapel Athletic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina, told USA TODAY Sports that the association commissioned an investigation in to the hit and the coach who was overseeing the drill was later fired.
Are they too young to be doing this drill? pic.twitter.com/lA8G9U86Wx— Young Black Jesus (@Zeekncashe) May 11, 2021
"This drill occurred back in September 2020 on a team with a first year coach in the program," Duggan wrote in the statement. "This was addressed immediately with the coach when it happened as this was deemed not an acceptable drill for this age group or the experience level of these players. Subsequent to the coach being removed from his position, there were no other incidents or issues with this team during the remainder of the season."
Reactions to the video from prominent athletes, media members, parents and football fans were swift.
"Attention all parents! If your kid is doing this drill. Take your child off the field and don’t go back to those stupid coaches," former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote in one tweet. "Coaches like this aren’t safe and ruin the image of football."
USA Football, which serves as the national governing body for the sport, was quick to respond as well.
"This is against everything that we in football stand for and has no place in our game," spokesperson Steve Alic wrote in an email to USA TODAY. "It is an affront to the millions of Moms and Dads who coach youth football with the greatest care for their kids."
Duggan, the WCWAA's attorney, indicated that the coaches in its youth football program are required to be certified through USA Football. In response to a request for comment, Alic noted that USAF does not operate youth leagues but does work with league leadership to help coaches complete their certification program.