Spokane Valley police are recommending a fourth-degree misdemeanor assault charge against a Coeur d’Alene football player who allegedly ripped a helmet off a Sandpoint 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. Police were called to the school after the Sandpoint player was injured. Both players are minors.
The Sandpoint player was taken to Providence 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,” Spokane Valley police spokesman 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 levied.
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 involved in the incident 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’d be commenting on something I didn’t see. Now that it’s a legal matter, anybody who didn’t witness it shouldn’t be commenting on it.”
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.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.