Ohio player pricks foes in handshake line, forces tetanus shots

Cameron Smith

In one of the most disturbing acts by an individual high school athlete in recent times, an Ohio football player placed a sharp object -- believed to be a tack -- in his glove before walking through a postgame handshake line, pricking the hands of 27 opponents as he walked through and "congratulated" them on a game well played.

According to the Wilmington (Ohio) News Journal and NBC affiliate WCMH, a Washington (Ohio) Court House High 16-year-old who was ineligible for the game sat on his team's sideline, then walked through the handshake line after his team's 26-0 victory against McLain (Ohio) High with a studded receiver's glove. The punctures made by the player's sharp glove eventually forced all 27 of the undisclosed perpetrator's alleged victims to receive tetanus shots from the Highland County health department at a meeting between the players and the Highland County Health Commissioner days after the event.

McLain players shared the most troubling details of the incident with WCMH.

"We walked across the 50-yard line and supposedly one of the guys had tacks in his glove. Nobody knew about it. I was far back enough in the line that everyone started to turn around and I got out of the way," said Michael Aeh, a McClain football player. ...

"They felt the pain of it when it occurred and they thought maybe they had hit a nerve or something. Then some of them immediately … looked at their hands and saw blood," said Dr. Dan Strain, McClain High School principal.

While the McLain players who suffered hand injuries because of the stunt were understandably most upset about the incident, local police also opened an investigation and contacted the mother of the suspect, who reportedly told Greenfield Police Chief Tim Hester that she planned to hire an attorney to defend her son.

"It was a small, sharp object," Hester told the News Journal. "We think it was probably a tack, but we haven't recovered it so we can't say for sure."

Regardless of what instrument was used to cause the damage, the entire incident is one of the most deranged in recent prep sports memory. That any player would inflict damages requiring vaccinations against unsuspecting victims is gross and disturbing. That the player didn't even play any part in the contest itself may make the hurtful handshakes even more upsetting.

That sentiment was certainly shared by one unnamed McLain student who was interviewed by WCMH.

"I think it's stupid, and very silly, and I don't understand why anyone would have any incentive to do that. We lost anyway."

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