Last week a Florida teen was hospitalized with a concussion and severe injuries after he was attacked in an alleged hazing incident involving the nationally-ranked Dr. Phillips High School football team. Now, the injured player's family is considering legal action against the football players involved, and implicating one Dr. Phillips coach as an accomplice in the process.
According to WFTV.com, a lawyer for Darrion Denson, the 15-year-old who has been in a neck brace since the attack, held a press conference Monday to announce his client wants former teammates to face felony charges. Frank Kruppenbacher, the former chief legal counsel for the Orange County school district representing the Denson family, claimed that the hazed player decided to consider legal action after a week without response to the attack from the school district.
"He did not consent to being given a concussion. He did not consent to being hit with chairs and fists," Kruppenbacher said in the press conference. ... "If it happened to anyone else in this room, it would be a criminal act."
WFTV also reported that Denson is giving police the names of the five attackers and wants to see the players prosecuted. Kruppenbacher intimated that Denson believes as many as 30 players may have been involved in the attack.
Meanwhile, the lawyer also provided what may be the most troubling proof that the attack was an act of hazing rather than random teen violence: the involvement of a Dr. Phillips coach.
"He believes he was the victim of hazing. He believed it from the minute it happened," Kruppenbacher said. "He was taken to a locker room by a coach, he was told by the coach to go in and get his pants. He went in that locker room and the next thing he knows he wakes up stuffed in a garbage can."
The attack and it's subsequent investigation could jeopardize an impressive start to the season fro Dr. Phillips. The Panthers, currently ranked No. 40 in the RivalsHigh 100, obliterated Osceola 49-7 last week, just days after the alleged attack occurred. The Panthers travel to take on Olympia on Friday.
According to CFNews13.com and OrlandoSentinel.com, the school district is being put under more pressure to launch a formal investigation of the attack by Denson's mother and Orange County School Board member Vicki Bell.
"If the reports are accurate, these boys apparently, as a varsity team, considered it acceptable to beat a freshman that dared come into their hallowed domain," Bell wrote in an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel. "We need to take pro-active action to rectify this situation, disciplining those who participated, and change this harmful attitude of sport's elitism."