Tales of horrific sportsmanship don’t get much worse than the story out of rural East Central Georgia last week, in which a visiting team’s football coach was brutally attacked after a game, and ended up with a traumatic head injury and multiple broken bones in his face.
On the night of the attack, Hancock County High School played host to their fierce rivals from neighboring Warren County, and lost the game 21-2. After the final whistle, the Warren County team headed to the visitors’ locker room, and according to witnesses, the team manager couldn’t open the locker room door with the key he had been given. While waiting for help, the Warren team was attacked by a group of Hancock players in what appeared to a coordinated effort.
Warren County’s coach, David Daniel, saw the beginning of the fight and ran over to intervene. That’s when he was attacked too, by a player swinging a football helmet, and sustained brutal injuries. Bones around his right eye were smashed, and he has undergone major reconstructive surgeries.
An inquiry into the incident is underway by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Most recently, it has come to light that a Hancock County assistant coach sent threatening text messages to several Warren County players before the game. Undoubtedly, this was just one of a series of bad decisions made by the athletes and the adults in their lives that led to the evening of violence. More may be uncovered by the detectives’ investigation.
Perhaps understandably, the Warren County schools superintendent has declared that none of her school’s athletic teams will play against Hancock County for the rest of the school year.
We will keep you updated on developments related to Coach Daniel’s condition and any further fallout from the events.
Image: Hancock County Courthouse, Sparta, Ga. By Flickr user drivebybiscuits1