Yael T. Abouhalkah

Violence is a big part of KC high school football

Updated: 2013-11-20T00:28:28Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

A Platte County High School football player allegedly crossed the line and assaulted a Winnetonka player during an October game.

The charges filed Tuesday against a 17-year-old player should help stoke a discussion about just what constitutes assault in high school football in the Kansas City area.

Be honest, football fans: You see a variation of what is assumed to be legal assaults in every game locally.

Players lowering their heads and hitting opponents with their helmets.

Players smashing others into the ground.

Players hitting, clawing, poking and otherwise physically attacking and intimidating their opponents.

Yes, in the Platte County case, prosecutor Eric Zahnd says something happened outside the lines of the football field, something that doesn’t occur often: The accused swung a helmet at the victim and injured him. The victim reportedly has not returned to school.

The prosecutor’s release indicates that a game official and Winnetonka school official thought the incident was intentional.

Yet most every violent play in a football game is intentional. That’s how kids are taught to play the game.

This incident could do a lot of good if it helps spur more parents to wonder why they are allowing their sons to be involved in such a violent sport.

Given the rising concern about concussions, this incident also should make more players, parents, coaches and school officials redouble their efforts to reduce violence — or basically legal assaults — in high school football.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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