KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Platte County prosecutors said a frustrated Platte County high school football player assaulted an opponent from Winnetonka High School after a play in an October game by ripping the player's helmet off and striking him in the head with it.
The victim suffered a severe concussion from the incident, which was caught by at least one camera shooting game film, and has not returned to school.
"Clearly we know that violent acts occur in every football game that has ever been played, and the vast majority of those plays never result in criminal charges and should not result in criminal charges," Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said Tuesday.
But parents and witnesses described a violent act beyond the typical football game.
"It was more ultimate fighting stuff where you're trying to hurt somebody - not put on a hit on somebody," parent Todd Purifoy told 41 Action News. "That was kind of violent."
Purifoy's son, a linebacker on the team, described the victim as a special teams standout and suggested his alleged assailant Collin Byrd was frustrated to have been blocked by the victim and down by 30 points.
"It's just really unnecessary," Tanashis Purifoy said. "Especially when you're losing."
A referee flagged the play and ejected Byrd. He later told prosecutors the incident was unlike any in his 20-year career.
The play, mostly captured on video, recalls a similar incident that made headlines in Pennsylvania this summer when a player struck another in the face with a helmet during a skirmish after a play. That player sat out a two-game suspension but has yet to face criminal charges.
Purifoy said in this case, he agreed with the prosecutor's decision to make this a criminal issue.
"It was definitely outside the lines," Purifoy said. "And that could be off the field violence. It should be the same consequences."
Neither Byrd nor his family could immediately be reached for comment.