Safety concerns prompt Alaska HS football team to forfeit mid-game

September 6, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
An Alaska high school football team walked off the field mid-game last week after watching two of its players sent to the hospital on what the coach called “dirty” tactics.

Football3Ketchikan football coach Jim Byron said the forfeit was prompted by safety concerns for his players. During the second quarter, on a play where Thunder Mountain scored its third touchdown of the game, two Ketchikan players suffered injuries. One was taken off on a stretcher, and both players were hospitalized, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

No flags were thrown on the play, but Byron believes penalties should have been called.

From the article:

“We walked off that football field for the safety of our players,” Byron said. “I don’t agree with the way they were coached, the way they played. It’s dirty, it’s illegal, and I am just not going to have anybody else get hurt because of unfair play.” 

Play resumed after 20 minutes and players from both teams seemed heated, arguing and shoving after plays were blown dead. Two minutes later referees sidelined both teams and gathered around Byron.

“I just wanted to express that calls need to be made. … It wasn’t a bad conversation,” Byron said. “There was no argument, I was simply trying to protect my guys. I mean, guys are getting injured because there are no fouls being called, no flags being thrown with illegal hits taking place.”

The Alaska Dispatch News reported that one player suffered a concussion and the other had back spasms. Both players have been released from the hospital.

The Alaska School Activities Association has indicated that Ketchikan could be fined for walking off the field, the newspaper reported. The move is considered “an intentional contract violation” and the school could be forced to pay a $200 to $500 fine.

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