A middle-aged assistant youth football coach in Hawaii has been arrested for assault after attacking a 12-year-old player on an opposing team in the latest disturbing event to hit the youth sports ranks.
As reported by Hawaii News Now, among other outlets, 45-year-old Ionatana Alualu -- the uncle of NFL player Tyson Alualu -- was arrested and charged with third degree assault for striking a 12-year-old player in the head so hard that the child was sent "flying" to the ground. The incident in question occurred during a Hawaii State Junior Prep Sports Association Football League game at Leilehua High School, where Alualu's Rock Solid Crusaders were playing the Wahiawa Lancers.
The Hawaii State Junior Prep Sports Association Commissioner, Robert Faleafine, immediately suspended Alualu indefinitely, a penalty which appears to eliminate the Crusaders assistant coach from ever returning to coach his team, or another in the association.
"I was taken by surprise by the incident itself. You can call it ugly if you want to," Faleafine told Hawaii News Now. "I mean it hurts. It really does. I put this [league] together for kids, that's why and it hurts me to see something like this happen."
According to witnesses cited by Hawaii News Now, Alualu attacked the player in an attempt to break up an impending fight between the 12-year-old who was struck and a Rock Solid Crusaders player. Alualu's daughter told the news organization that her father hadn't intended to hurt the child, but was only trying to keep the two from fighting.
As it turns out, he did much more than that, with Hawaii News Now reporting that the unnamed 12-year-old who was struck was left with a shoulder injury and a concussion from the attack.
"I'm angry. I'm upset about it. I'm hurt by it because it is not who I am," Faleafine told Hawaii News Now. "It is not who this league is. We just have to fix it."