A fight broke out between fans of opposing teams at a Vermont middle school basketball game leading to the death of a 60-year-old man who participated in the fight, according to ESPN.
The event, which can be seen on a video shared by Twitter user dpat, appeared to involve at least ten adults with kids running close to the fray as well. ESPN reported on the exact way that the events transpired:
“State troopers were called to the Alburgh Community Education Center just before 7 p.m. Tuesday after a report of a large fight involving spectators during a seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball game between Alburgh and St. Albans.
The fight ended before troopers arrived, and many of the participants had left. Russell Giroux, of Alburgh, sought medical attention, police said. He was taken by ambulance to the Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, where he was pronounced dead.”
Executive Director of the Vermont Principal’s Association Jay Nichols offered a statement saying that the group does not have any further information beyond what the police have shared.
“Although we can not speak specifically about the events at this individual game, we would like to once again emphasize that middle and high school sports are educational and are for the benefit of the student-athletes. Spectators that cannot behave appropriately can be barred from events and can face criminal charges.”
Breitbart shared statements from both schools. St. Albans school’s statement read, in part:
“Our immediate goal is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community, and kindness.”
Alburgh, the opposing team, gave a statement that said:
“All of us in the Maple Run Community are shocked and saddened by last night’s death of Russell Giroux after a physical altercation during a basketball game at the Alburgh Community Education Center.”
“We extend our condolences and sympathies to his family and friends. Since our students observed the altercation, we are working in the next days to support our students and families in dealing with the consequences of the altercation and Mr. Giroux’s death.”
In an article detailing the dangers of fighting, the BBC spoke to multiple doctors about the possibility of death from blows to the head, saying:
“While no official figures are available on one-punch deaths, the campaign group One Punch Can Kill has recorded more than 80 fatalities since 2007.
Many of the cases have attracted media attention – in large part because it seems extraordinary that one punch can kill.
But Duncan Bew, a consultant in trauma and acute care at King’s College Hospital, said this reflects a fundamental lack of understanding.
“People are very much focused on penetrating injuries, but actually punching someone in the head can be just as lethal,” he said.”
As a small Vermont town reels at the loss of a member of its community, it serves a stark reminder of the dangers of hand to hand combat.
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