Another brutal attack carried out in the guise of athletic competition has one Salt Lake City mother calling foul this week. Susie Clark said she still has trouble watching a video of the incident, which took place during a recent girls varsity soccer match between Woods Cross High and Salt Lake City East High.
In the video, filmed by a bystander, Clark's daughter and Woods Cross High player Makenzie Clark can be seen rolling her ankle and falling onto her back. As Makenzie attempts to roll into a sitting position, an opponent, identified by Yahoo! as East High senior Petiola Manu, knees her in the face.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” Clark told ABC 4. "It was a dead ball. It was after the fact. It was after the play was over. It was a brutal, dirty shot."
No foul was called on the play, and Manu simply walked away after the assault, leaving Clark to be carried off the field by her teammates.
After the YouTube of the play came to light over the weekend, East High's principal Paul Sagers held a conference with both his soccer coach and Manu. The Utah High School Activities Association is investigating the dirty shot, and Manu has since apologized.
The dirty knee to an unsuspecting Makenzie Clark could have ended far worse. However, the Utah controversy is indicative of a far troubling trend in youth sports--an escalation of violence on the playing field that has shocked coaches and parents and at times demanded the involvement of local law enforcement.
In March, Annette McCullough, a senior at Lewisville High in South Carolina was charged with assault after punching an opposing player repeatedly in the face during a soccer match against Chester High School.
The attack, which was videotaped by a parent, continues until a woman runs onto the field to pull McCullough off her victim.
Chester County Sheriff Richard Smith told FoxNews.com that McCullough, who did earn a red card for the blatant foul, was also charged with third-degree assault and battery.
In his book, the “Essentials of Sports Law,” University of Massachusetts professor Glenn M. Wong said there is sometimes a double standard as far as violence in professional sports is understood.
But Forbes points out that as more and more incidents like the East High attack are caught on tape, prosecutors may change their minds about the punishments meted out to minors.
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