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Saturday, December 7, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Coeur d’Alene football player may be charged with assault

Police recommend fourth-degree assault charge after player injures Sandpoint player during camp scrimmage

Spokane Valley police are recommending a fourth-degree misdemeanor assault charge against a Coeur d’Alene High School football player who allegedly ripped the helmet off a Sandpoint High player and hit him with it during a camp scrimmage Thursday.

Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene were scrimmaging during a Border League camp held at University High School in Spokane Valley. Police were called to the school after the Sandpoint player was injured. Both players are minors.

The Sandpoint player was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center where he was held overnight, Sandpoint coach Satini Puailoa said. Puailoa said the player had yet to be released as of early Friday morning.

Sandpoint was running a play to the right side of the field when on the opposite side, well away from the play, a Sandpoint player blocked a Coeur d’Alene player. The two continued to tussle after the play.

“During the scrum, the Coeur d’Alene player ripped off the helmet of the Sandpoint player,” said Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Gregory said. “Depending on numerous (witness) versions, the player either threw or hit (the Sandpoint player) with the helmet on the cheek and head area. He suffered a concussion.”

Gregory said paperwork detailing the investigation was forwarded to the prosecutor Friday to decide whether a formal charge will be filed.

Asked how investigators differentiated a criminal act from a football play, Gregory, who noted the play was over, said, “The act was not related to football. It’s not like he was trying to make a block.”

Puailoa praised the University training staff for responding immediately and attending to his player. He declined to identify his player because he’s a minor.

Gregory confirmed the Coeur d’Alene player is 17.

Puailoa said neither he nor his assistants saw the incident because they were watching the play develop.

“We’re not talking about it right now,” Puailoa said. “All reports we were getting was he was OK. It’s under investigation. Rather than adding fuel to the fire I’m just going to let it go through the process.”

Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos said his player didn’t participate in the final day of camp Friday.

“At this point it’s now a legal matter and I don’t think I should be discussing it with the media,” Amos said. “I hope the other school administration and representatives would understand it’s a legal matter and shouldn’t be commenting on it in the media. I’d be commenting on something I didn’t see.”

Sandpoint athletic director Kris Knowles said he’s had conversations with Coeur d’Alene principal Warren Olson.

“The most important thing to us is the young man’s well-being,” Knowles said.

Knowles said Sandpoint players were cautioned to avoid talking about the incident on social media.

“We don’t want a social media blitz,” Knowles said.

Staff writer Tom Clouse contributed to this report.

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