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Nov 8, 2013 11:28 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Father Says Son Injured During Hampton Bays Football Locker Room Incident

Nov 13, 2013 12:55 PM

Hampton Bays varsity football team members were forced to forfeit their final game of the season after one of their own suffered a concussion and broken nose in a locker room incident late last month.

The boy was hit by an object, possibly a metal folding chair, during an incident following practice in which someone shut the lights in the boys locker room and players playfully started throwing objects around in the dark.

The father of the victim, a high school junior who had to undergo reconstructive surgery to repair his nose, said the incident that occurred after a team practice on October 30 was not the first time it happened this season.

“Some kid could have been killed,” said the boy’s father, whom The Press has declined to identify in order to protect the identity of the victim, a juvenile. “I don’t know the exact details of what went on in the dark. When the lights went out, things happened, and my son was injured.”

The father added that the kind of incident in which his son was injured, during which the lights are shut off and objects thrown about in the dark, happened “dozens” of times before his son got hurt. His son also told him afterward that other players had also been hit with folding chairs as well, just not in the head.

Regarding the incident in which his son was hurt, the father said the players filed into the locker room shortly after 5 p.m. following practice, and the coaching staff left the boys alone so they could change. The lights went out a short time later, and his son was struck by what he believes was a metal folding chair; his son was not certain what had hit him because it was so dark in the locker room.

Hampton Bays School District officials initially declined to explain why it forced the varsity football team to cancel its final game of the season on November 2, a decision that effectively quashed the Baymen’s hopes of making the playoffs. When first asked about the reason, Schools Superintendent Lars Clemensen stated only that the game was forfeited due to an “isolated incident that revealed a pattern of behavior that we felt was unbecoming of a student athlete.”

But the victim’s father revealed last Thursday afternoon that the incident in which his son was injured was not an isolated one, adding that he thinks administrators have failed to explain to him why no coaches were around while players were horsing around after practice. He also noted that his son and the players who tended to him after his injury were unable to find anyone from the coaching staff to assist them following the incident.

“The reason it happened is because there is an ongoing, reckless violence going on with no supervision,” the father added. “The lights go out in the locker room, and when it does, it’s like a food fight-type scenario, and everything gets thrown, including metal folding chairs.”

He added that he holds no ill will against any of the other players, because he said his son also engaged in the reckless behavior and does not believe their intent was to hurt his son, who is still suffering from post-concussion syndrome and will remain out of school indefinitely. He underwent reconstructive facial surgery early last week.

“I know these kids jackass around, but they’re a really tight-knit group of kids,” the father said.

When reached earlier, Hampton Bays head coach Mike Oestreicher declined to explain why his team forfeited the game. He did not return a call seeking comment.

In a series of emails sent last Thursday night, Mr. Clemensen wrote that “the coaching staff is generally present in the locker room before and during practice,” though they give the players privacy while changing their clothes afterward. He added that the incident has prompted the district to reconsider some of its locker room policies.

“Guidelines for locker room, pre- and post-practice supervision, along with procedures to anonymously report incidents of misconduct are being reviewed and may be revised prior to the start of the winter athletic season,” Mr. Clemensen wrote. “Our coaching staff will receive training on any new protocols.”

Mr. Clemensen explained that an administrator stationed in the nurse’s office and a security guard were able to assist the boy until EMS personnel arrived from Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance to transport him to Southampton Hospital.

Southampton Town Police also responded to the incident, but only as an assisting agency, according to Lieutenant Michael Zarro. Mr. Clemensen said the issue still is being handled internally and that the boy’s father said he is waiting to see a copy of the police report before taking any further action.

The Baymen ended their season at 2-6, though they could have earned a spot in the playoffs had they played and defeated Greenport on November 2.

Mr. Clemensen said the coaches have fulfilled their duties for the year, so they are up for reevaluation. He declined to share if they would be returning next season, stating that personnel issues are confidential.

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Time for criminal charges IMO, if the facts are as alleged above. If the SHT PD and DA do not act on this, then a higher authority should be called in. NYS Troopers?

Hopefully the days of sweeping this kind of abuse under the carpet are long-gone.

Similar to the reminder under the SHS article, if not now, when?

EH High had some very unfortunate incidents in the last couple of years.

Have we learned anything, perhaps that we are intelligent and caring enough ...more
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 8, 13 12:06 PM
PS -- If prior incidents like this have gone uncorrected by coaches, teachers and staff, then disciplinary charges against them should also be filed, if not criminal conspiracy charges. IMO
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 8, 13 12:10 PM
Criminal charges against who? First off, you would never be able to prove who injured the teen, secondly, the teen would need to consent to charges being pressed against the alleged. Based on the father's statements, sounds like they're not interested in that.

"He added that he holds no ill will against any of the other players because he said his son also engaged in the reckless behavior and does not believe their intent was to hurt his son who is still suffering from post-concussion ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 13 12:38 PM
A full investigation of all the facts is needed by an independent agency (not an internal school investigation) IMO. From the damage done to this one student alone (and maybe more?), it is possible that someone acted criminally in the dark.

Again, the main point is that it is time to stop sweeping this kind of stuff under the carpet, and to air the dirty laundry. [to mix metaphors]

PS -- What WOULD you expect a father to say if he were afraid of pay-back for speaking out in a critical ...more
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 8, 13 1:28 PM
I would expect a father to be honest and to protect his child at all costs. From his quote, it appears that he understands his son wasn't targeted for injury and that his son took place in said "horseplay".

Clearly there is a culutural problem that needs addressing - look no further than what is going on with the NFL and the Dolphins. There are players and coaches who are saying that the player who was "bullied" should have just manned up, and that given his size he shouldn't have been ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 13 2:17 PM
I decline to participate in another TGIF Twilight Zone discussion with you. Have a good weekend.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 8, 13 2:23 PM
IMO not surprised you fail to back up this statement: "Time for criminal charges IMO, if the facts are as alleged above."
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 13 2:34 PM
Did you even bother to read the end of the later post?

"PS2 -- You may be correct Nature that no criminal charges are justified. TBD"

AFTER a full investigation by an outside agency.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 9, 13 6:11 AM
Just to clarify further, Nature, it is the extreme nature of the victim's injuries which raise the possibility of criminal charges.

Prosecutorial discretion to charge a crime is often based, initially at least, on the severity of injuries.

Could these injuries have been caused by some random chair-throwing in the dark? Possibly.

Could they have been caused by intentional (or criminally reckless) behavior to harm the victim?

Perhaps you could chime in on this issue?

Thank ...more
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 10, 13 8:36 AM
Crikey:

Nature got it right in the second post. PBR is off base on all counts. The kid was admittedly involved (per the father) at points in time earlier in the year. So now his son gets hurt and it is an issue?

Let's wait for the post to tie this into soccer. It will happen, just wait.

Oh and let's tie it into the Dolphins scandal. May be a parallel in someone's mind.

How do we know the kid whose face got wrecked is so innocent. Maybe he did it all year ...more
By Hambone (504), New York on Nov 8, 13 3:04 PM
Your last point is excellent. D*mned if you do and if you don't it seems.

It's quite pathetic that these high schoolers can't be left alone for 10 minutes without resorting to violence or "horseplay". Then again, "boys will be boys"? It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt! Insert tired metaphor here______________
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 13 3:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hambone, you say, "I don't need facts."

Would you not support a full investigation, or are we going to trust 100% the online version of a story which will appear in the print media?

Really?
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 9, 13 6:23 AM
Hambone, suze67 hit the nail on the head here IMO (see below):

"No kid should be having surgery on his face because other kids, maybe even the kid himself, think it's cool or funny to throw chairs around in the dark."

If this behavior is tacitly approved by inaction, what message does this send to all students about acceptable conduct as adults?

Thank you.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 10, 13 8:38 AM
Guess you missed the sarcasm. I said I don't need facts to mock posters such as yourself.

And what do you mean "full investigation"? If you mean bringing in the police every time a ham sandwich disappears from a lunch bag then no.
By Hambone (504), New York on Nov 11, 13 10:45 AM
Perhaps you should explain to the victim and his father, how the injuries are similar to a ham sandwich, Ham?
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 11, 13 11:47 AM
Because neither event warrants the State Police getting involved.

For finishing second to me you'll get a lovely parting gift and a board game version of this website
By Hambone (504), New York on Nov 13, 13 10:18 AM
Have you read today's new article? Your complacency and condescension are sad to see IMO.

No wonder the kids are wandering without the adults providing better direction . . .

PS -- The NYS Troopers were mentioned ONLY as a back-up investigating agency in case the SHT PD did not do its job.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 13, 13 1:40 PM
1. Condescension I'll give you but I am not complacent
2. It's IMHO not IMO
3. Wandering children…I have no idea what this means or refers to. They were in a locker room not lost in the woods
4. But the fact that the troopers were mentioned at all implies someone (you) wants satisfaction and will seek it at all costs and to any end. This is not a State issue.

What really matters is the behavior of the coaches, the players and by inference the parents. I have children ...more
By Hambone (504), New York on Nov 14, 13 9:55 AM
Thank you for your post Hambone. Well said.

Just to clarify:

1. Thank you.

2. IMHO is the same as IMO with humble added (H) -- used interchangeably +/-.

3. Wandering -- as in a general lack of guidance from adults giving better direction, and your post provides a detailed overview of the guidance needed in our culture.

4. Once again, I mentioned State Troopers ONLY as a possible (note question mark) back-up investigating agency, if the SHT PD did not ...more
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 12:31 PM
This student has a broken nose and a concussion and he the father has no ill will? You wonder why kids are the way they are. If someone hit my kids with a folding chair the cops would be locking someone up.Lars Clemonsen has lied yet again. He recently said that" God no it wasn't a criminal issue". Lars if you can't figure out that hitting someone with a chair is assault in the state of New York you need to go. At the very least the state police should be investigating. By the way the town cops ...more
By chief1 (2516), southampton on Nov 8, 13 5:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
State police? OK forget PBR you are the one who clearly had his sandwich stolen from the coat closet.

Please explain how you determine who threw a chair when the lights are out? Even "My Cousin Vinny" could mount a defense to that.

By Hambone (504), New York on Nov 11, 13 10:49 AM
You did not answer the question.

Are you saying NO further investigation is warranted here?
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 11, 13 11:31 AM
The facts are it was horseplay. The kids all have the same story. No One, even the kid hit says a chair hit him. So how do you find out with the lights off. Basically you don't. No one knows what happened the lights were out in a pitch black locker room.
As for supervision, a coach was still there and he tended to the kid along with a night school administrator and a security guard. What are you going to investigate how horse play happen in every locker room across America.
By HB resident (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 13 6:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
American sports. What a shame. So much for building character. They should concentrate on their studies as should their shcool. The world will pummel them in academics. No wonder why America is failing.
By realistic (439), westhampton on Nov 8, 13 9:04 PM
" Schools Superintendent Lars Clemensen stated only that the game was forfeited due to an “isolated incident that revealed a pattern of behavior that we felt was unbecoming of a student athlete.” Totally oblivious of the logical contradiction of his explanation!

What is it in the air and water of the Hamptons that make school administrators, Board members, and teachers that seemingly make them check their brains on Exit 70? The Super declares it is an isolated incident and in ...more
By Obbservant (440), southampton on Nov 8, 13 10:07 PM
4 members liked this comment
You got issues obbservant
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 13 10:36 PM
And pray tell, just what precisely those issues are Mr. Blank?
By Obbservant (440), southampton on Nov 8, 13 10:55 PM
Sure thing, as soon as you respond to my query in reference to your post about Ms. Kabot.
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Nov 9, 13 10:10 AM
looks like no punishment or suspension for the football team students causing serious bodily injury to another, huh? I guess only serious things get students suspended like wearing a shirt with the American Flag on it, or have in possession a piece of paper that somewhat looks like a gun, or speak he words "Merry Christmas", or a male student carrying a purse, or a girl being kicked off a volleyball team and losing her captain title because she went to a party to drive an intoxicated friend home, ...more
By Jaws (239), Amity Island on Nov 9, 13 2:14 AM
2 members liked this comment
They never punish the "good ole" sports. It's all about the sports. This was a slap on the hand!!!
By LI native (127), east moriches on Nov 9, 13 6:47 AM
3 members liked this comment
What a waste of taxpayer dollars. Safety last under Mr. Clemensen. Last year it was a teacher aid named Fotopoulos selling diet products to students. What next and at what price?
By sagchick1 (3), east quogue on Nov 9, 13 9:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hampton Bays has a school board which is made up of local yocals with no business and very little management skills. They have the yes man superintendant , and the bully business manager. Time to clean house.
By chief1 (2516), southampton on Nov 9, 13 9:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Once again Chief is an expert of the details of each individual hamlet in town.
Tell us how this school board is different than any other?
Your boiler plate opinions of every civic group, school board etc is tiresome.
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Nov 9, 13 10:09 AM
Why don't you run if you can do such a better job?
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Nov 9, 13 8:55 PM
Once again your opinion is the only one that counts. People voice their opinion on this site and you make fun of them if you don't like it. Why don't you tell us about your friends at the police department and why they didn't investigate this incident. It seems to me when you see a kid full of blood at a school you might want to investigate what happened. Instead they accept the superintendents idea of investigating it himself. That went over very well in Westampton with the superintendent investigated ...more
By chief1 (2516), southampton on Nov 9, 13 12:29 PM
4 members liked this comment
No Chief, its primarily YOU who I call out. And I agree, the idea of an "assisting agency" is a new one on me. But it seems like you always have an opinion of an incident in each hamlet and make a point to denigrate each one when given a chance.
Ya think maybe that seeing as the kid himself has taken part in this activity before he really isn't in a spot to pursue this criminally? And what do you think would be done if it was? Zillch, that's what, cause its just HS males acting like idiots. ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Nov 9, 13 2:19 PM
Once again wether it is the Southampton PD or a school district no one is held accountable. Blank seems to think that is ok. The average taxpayer is paying the tab, and is being asked to keep there mouths shut. All the kids should be thrown out of school, and let the cops get to the bottom of it. The faculty was too stupid to know this was going on so how will they be able to investigate? This has happened dozens of times and the coaches didn't ever hear the sound of smashing folding chairs? The ...more
By chief1 (2516), southampton on Nov 10, 13 10:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like its time for Lars Clemensen to find another District. When you have a home grown kid related to everyone in the town and hiring all relatives...never a winning formula. And the Board of Education signs off on everything. It is time to clean house before they take away every last tax dollar!
By Jeff101 (1), hampton bays on Nov 9, 13 6:23 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why don't you do something for the community and run instead of just sitting here complaining and not taking action. Talk is cheap!!!
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Nov 9, 13 8:53 PM
Anyone can run for BOE. Why don't you if you are so intelligent on things in the school district?
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Nov 9, 13 8:54 PM
Can you elaborate on the employees that are related to the Superintendent?
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 13 3:45 PM
Didn't think so.
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Nov 12, 13 10:23 AM
Actually Jeff explain why its Mr. Clemensens fault? You want him to run the school district and the sport teams? I think Mr. Clemensen has done a great job in hampton bays school district and just because this happens you think he should be axed? What about the superintendent in Westhampton? Should he get fired cause his gym teacher was filming girls in the locker room. Its now Lars fault its the coaching staff. And if the coaching staff was in there you would have a parent complaining about that. ...more
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Nov 9, 13 8:51 PM
If it's not stopped in high school then the behavior goes on when they go to college. No kid should be having surgery on his face because other kids, maybe even the kid himself, think it's cool or funny to throw chairs around in the dark.
By suzer67 (51), nanuet on Nov 9, 13 8:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
Well said IMO. It is the extent of these injuries which raise serious questions about what happened in the dark -- and whether the injuries were entirely accidental.

Was the victim singled out for special treatment ahead of time?

Questions like this need to be asked by an independent investigating agency.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 10, 13 8:30 AM
Hey Islander, you expect the coaches to sit in the locker room get a clue no coach anywhere in the country stands in the locker room. as horrible as this is no one but the kids know what happened in there. if you expect coaches to stand in the locker room why don to you go in there and watch them change. I dont think any coach would ever think that his varsity team would be acting so foolish in a locker room the day before a game. Much less think the Superintendent will cancel the season for the ...more
By HB resident (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 9, 13 10:38 PM
It would have been nice to see them win some playoff games under the lights our taxes pay for.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), East Quogue on Nov 10, 13 9:13 AM
Mr. Clemensen does not have the experience to keep his house in order and as a result lives are in danger. He makes the big bucks to hold the athletic director and coaching staff accountable. Nobody had to wait in the locker room but if one out of the group of coaches was within 100 feet they would have heard the clamor of metal chairs being thrown and our students wouldn't be re-enacting lord of the rings. Boys will be boys, that's why people are paid to supervise them. I guess Mr. Clemensen ...more
By sagchick1 (3), East Quogue on Nov 10, 13 12:11 PM
3 members liked this comment
Why don't you call the school. The superintendent is either out of the building or on a seminar. When you are the boss you sometimes have to be present in the building.
By chief1 (2516), southampton on Nov 10, 13 2:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
The coaches are around the building wh didn't any of these angels come and tell a coach what was going on I feel the coaches have some blame but the kids need to be accountable boy will be boys who the hell throws chairs at eachother. Common sense is not somehing these. Boys have like punching a wall when angry it never gives
By HB resident (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 13 3:49 PM
The coaches are around the building wh didn't any of these angels come and tell a coach what was going on I feel the coaches have some blame but the kids need to be accountable boy will be boys who the hell throws chairs at eachother. Common sense is not somehing these. Boys have like punching a wall when angry it never gives
By HB resident (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 13 3:52 PM
I don't remember the team lacking in discipline when I played on it in the 80's. The AD is responsible for ensuring the athletes are safe and all reasonable issues are dealt with to create a safe environment at the facilities. This includes making the coaches responsible for the conduct of the players in the locker room. Why do the players have the ability to turn out the lights? Why dont the coaches notice this when it happens? Why has it been done several times? The coaches need to be disciplined ...more
By Baymen87 (112), Lugoff, SC on Nov 11, 13 11:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well said. Thank you.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 11, 13 1:51 PM
Everyone is talking about the Super...the coaches...the school board...Im wondering, where is the parental responsibility in this? It starts in the home. What kind of kids are people raising these days?
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Nov 13, 13 2:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
Interesting how the focus is off Southampton and on the HB incident.
By metsfan2 (140), southampton on Nov 13, 13 4:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Link above for new article.
By PBR (4877), Southampton on Nov 13, 13 4:53 PM
Schools are for learning. Sports should be out of the schools and into the community. If a municipality wants kids to participate in sports, let them build and maintain a sports complex separate from schools.
By btdt (423), water mill on Nov 15, 13 9:03 AM
Great idea btdt when are you making the donation to build such complex or do you want the town to build another in the middle of nowhere again and have a private company run it and profit from the children with the parents who don't work and able to drive them there and not the children who really need it such as in Flanders or Hampton bays where accessible by public transportation .
Kids do stupid things , accidents happen and boys will be boys . Better parenting and better supervision may ...more
By Urit (22), Quogue on Nov 17, 13 9:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
harbor hot tubs,