A high school referee was left concussed while trying to do his job in a heated early season faceoff in the Pittsburgh area, punished for trying to break up a fight between two teams with a punch to the head from a player.
As reported by Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE, Bob Boyd, a 35-year refereeing veteran in the western Pennsylvania area, was punched in the head during a fight in a matchup between area powers McKeesport (Pa.) High and Hempfield (Pa.) High. Boyd's injury was apparently the result of an inadvertent punch, though it remains unknown if it was a McKeesport or Hempfield fist which struck his head.
Boyd also reportedly suffered an ankle injury when two players involved in the skirmish fell on him.
"It appeared to me as if the McKeesport player who got into the altercation had initially called for the ball, and I believe the other player stepped in front of him. I don't know if that added to what I believe was frustration on his part, but I sense … I just had this feeling that something amiss was going to happen, and I chose to shadow that particular player," Boyd told WTAE. "As I'm trying to get the two separated is when I was struck in the head. I fell to the ground. My understanding is the players fell on top of me before they were separated."
The punch provided a scary moment for Boyd, who said that he was awakened by the trainer at the field, with Boyd immediately asserting that he was healthy enough to return to calling the game.
He wasn't, and instead was transported to McKeesport Hospital. Hempfield went on to win the game 33-18 with a fellow official taking Boyd's role on the field.
No suspensions have been handed down in connection with the inadvertent attack, though they could come in the days ahead, particularly with Boyd forced to miss at least one — and possibly many more — weeks of action while recuperating from his injuries.