Think savage hits and the first think that probably pops into your mind is the NFL. The second thing to float across your brain waves is probably the NHL. Body checks! Slashing sticks! It’s that whatever-it-takes mentality, or as Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis used to say, “Just win baby win.”
But no longer is violence predominately associated with just professional and college sports. Just recently a court in Massachusetts denied the filing of a criminal complaint charge against a high school hockey player who administered an overzealous body check. It seems that the Plymouth District Court magistrate could find no probable cause.
That’s no surprise. More happens in a hockey game sometimes than getting mugged in a dark alley. Ironically, not even a penalty was called on the body check.
But the parents of Duxbury player Tucker Hannon didn’t see it that way, particularly in view of the fact that they said their son received a concussion that keep him out of school for five weeks. They got themselves a lawyer and filed assault and battery charges against Scituate player Alex Way.
In finding no probably cause, Clerk Magistrate Philip McCue made it sweet and simple at the hearing saying, “I’m not going to sit here as a hockey referee.”
After the hearing, both players made statements.
According to Hannon, Way made an apology for the check. “He seemed very genuine,” the 18 year-old Duxbury High School junior said.
“I didn’t want it to go this far,” Way, 18, said. “I had no intention of causing bodily injury. He’s a nice kid. It seems like he has a nice family. I’m sorry he had a concussion.”
Prior to issuing his ruling, McCue spoke to both players separately.
He was sympathetic to Hannon’s circumstance of having to endure two weeks of darkness on doctor’s advice. Exposure to light is an aggravating factor when it comes to an injury like a concussion.
When McCue met with Way, he cautioned him: “I hope you’ve learned from this. When you have speed and strength involved, you can hurt somebody.”
Way’s attorney, Robert Harnais, termed the hearing a “travesty.” He continued, “We’re saying to parents of high school sports athletes: Make sure you buy equipment for your child, make sure you pay the (league) fees so they can play, and make sure you have a lawyer on retainer.”
Tucker’s father, Thomas Hannon, took the high road when McCue issued his ruling. His hopes are that the awareness of this issue will effect change in how the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association evaluates plays that can cause concussions.