Football player charged after allegedly striking opponent - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Football player charged after allegedly striking opponent with helmet


A Platte County R-III High School football player has been accused of assaulting a Winnetonka High School player with a football helmet during a game in October.

Colin W. Byrd, 17, of Kansas City, was charged on Nov. 19 with misdemeanor assault. The penalty for misdemeanor assault ranges from probation to one year in jail.

"Football players consent to physical contact and the possibility of injury every time they walk onto the field. And even conduct that draws a penalty is almost never criminal. In this case, however, we allege what happened that night was not football," said Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd in a news release.

According to court documents, during the third quarter of the Oct. 18 game between Platte County R-3 and Winnetonka, Byrd assaulted the victim by allegedly ripping off the victim's helmet and striking him in the head with it. The alleged assault occurred after a play in which Byrd and the victim ended up out of bounds.

An official and a Winnetonka school official who both saw the play told authorities they believed Byrd intentionally hit the victim with the helmet.

Byrd's conduct drew a flag, and he was ejected from the game. The official told investigators he had been officiating football games for more than 20 years and had never seen anything like it, said the release from Zahnd's office.

The school official said he believed Byrd had the opportunity to simply drop the helmet, but appeared to be "angry and frustrated" when he intentionally struck the victim with the helmet.

Zahnd said he has never seen a case like this before.

"I've been a prosecutor here for 11 years, I've never charged an assault arising from a sporting event and hope I never had to charge one again, but what we think happened here, what we intend to prove in court is this wasn't football as usual. This went beyond the game when we alleged that the defendant ripped off the helmet of his opponent and hit him in the head. That that was an assault," Zahnd said.

The victim suffered a significant injury resulting in a concussion and remains under a doctor's care. The victim has not been cleared by the doctor to return to school due to ongoing nausea, dizziness, memory loss and other symptoms.

The victim scored an 84 on a 0-125 concussion scale. A doctor indicated that lesser concussions score in the 20-30 range.

If convicted, Byrd could receive probation or face a maximum of one year in the Platte County Jail. A summons will be issued to Byrd and a court date will be set at that time.

Students at Platte County High School said Byrd is a popular, well-liked star football player in his senior year. Byrd's attorney said it was an unfortunate situation that resulted in injuries.

"I would say it's an unfortunate situation," defense attorney Anthony Bologna said. "He is a senior in high school, and he is an honor society member, so obviously a lot to lose. Any time somebody that age is facing criminal charges long term, there's a lot to lose there."

KCTV5's Chris Oberholtz contributed to this report.

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