In what has been described on one website as “one of the dirtiest plays you will ever see,” a Linden, New Jersey high school football player ripped the helmet off the head of a fallen opposing player from Immaculata and swung it at his forehead, hitting him.
The blow caused the injured player to be taken to the hospital where he received ten stitches to close the wound. The Linden player was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but not ejected. NJ.com reported the officials didn’t see the swinging of the helmet in its entirety which is a prerequisite for ejection.
School board is pursuing disciplinary measures
The disturbing incident was captured on video, and reaction was immediate from school officials who immediately kicked the helmet-swinging senior lineman off the team while an investigation into the incident is being done. Linden School Superintendent Danny Robertozzi said in a statement, “The Board of Education is appalled by the conduct of this student athlete. His action on the field is contrary to the type of sportsmanship Linden requires from its student athletes. Meanwhile, the school board is pursuing the “severest disciplinary measures permitted under law,” according to Robertozzi. “The brutal action taken by this young man is simply unacceptable and will not be condoned.”
“While disciplinary consequences have been imposed against this student, the Board cannot lawfully comment on the specific disciplinary action being taken. As a public school student, this young man is entitled to certain due process and confidentiality rights that prevent the Board from commenting more specifically on the actions being taken. Accordingly, the Board asks that the Public respect the legal restraints that limit the Board’s ability to more fully discuss this incident.”
MyCentralJersey has reported that the senior player from the Linden team, Fritz Moncion, said on Instagram that the incident “was an accident” and not done “purposely” (sic).
Linden police Capt. James Sarnicki said his department’s juvenile bureau investigation was ongoing.
Player may face assault charges
A former Morris County prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney, said he believed the Linden player will likely face aggravated assault charges.
According to New Jersey law, a prosecutor must be capable of differentiating for the court between serious bodily injury and significant bodily injury. Intent on the part of the Linden player is also critical to the argument for both the prosecutor and the defense in determining any subsequent punishment, and ultimately, the extent of damages if appropriate.
High school sports injury lawsuit
In New Jersey, there are also special benchmarks that must be reached for a plaintiff to recover damages. Those benchmarks include “permanent loss of a bodily function, permanent disfigurement or dismemberment where the medical treatment expenses are in excess of $3,600.”
Chances are in the case of the helmet incident, those benchmarks may not be reached. However, the aggrieved plaintiff may pursue legal action if his attorneys feel there is a reasonable expectation of achieving a settlement.
The amount of any settlement will depend on the extent of damages and its short and long term implications for the injured party as well as the circumstances of the accident or injury.
If you have suffered a personal injury due to the actions of another party in Morris, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, Essex, or Bergen County, including Hackensack and Paramus, please contact the law firm of Eisbrouch Marsh at 201-561-8366 for a complimentary case review.
We have a long history of successful verdicts and settlements in personal injury claims. You will not be charged any fees unless we win or settle your claim.
- athleticbusiness.com, High School Injury Lawsuits are Often Dismissed http://www.athleticbusiness.com/Civil-Actions/high-school-sports-injury-lawsuits-often-dismissed.html
- AOL.com, Football Player Kicked off Team after Tearing off Opponent’s Helmet http://www.aol.com/article/2015/09/17/football-player-kicked-off-team-after-tearing-off-opponents-hel/21237315/