New Mission High School girls' basketball coach Brianna Forde feels that an athletic trainer's decision may have caused her team to lose to Shawsheen in the state tournament Friday night. But in a response from Shawsheen Monday night, Superintendent Charlie Lyons strongly denied any intent by the Billerica school to do anything other than protect a student-athlete.
During a 57-55 loss in the Division 4 North quarterfinals, New Mission point guard Deiandra Humphries was hit in the face and fell to the floor, according to Titans coach Forde, who said no foul was called on the play.
Forde said the athletic trainer said Humphries showed signs of a concussion and had to come out of the game. Forde said the incident happened after Humphries scored seven straight points.
“The kid was 100 percent responsive and we questioned his intent behind the call!” Forde wrote in an email.
Forde said after the game Humphries saw her own doctor, who said she didn’t have a concussion. The trainer in question was not an employee of Shawsheen but rather worked for Precision Athletic Training and had no connections to Shawsheen.
“I am so disappointed in the impact the referees and athletic trainers are impacting the game,” Forde continued. “Their jobs are to protect the integrity of the game, not take away from it, simple!”
But Lyons disagreed strongly with Forde.
"An independent, qualified, medical trainer made a decision to remove a player who had no response to standard cognitive concussion questions,'' said Lyons in a statement. "Student health and safety are our highest concerns. I dismiss out of hand any acqusations that challenge either the integrity of our athletic department or the broadly acclaimed sportsmanship of our programs. We cordially invite the MIAA to investigate our actions in any many manor it considers appropriate."
By MIAA rule, once the game ends the outcome is official and there's no avenue of appeal. MIAA tournament rules mandate that the home team, in this case Shawsheen, is responsible for providing medical services such as an athletic trainer or EMT. New Mission could also have brought their own trainer but did not.
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