The football official who was head-butted by a helmeted Dunbar High School player Aug. 31 was diagnosed with a concussion from the incident, according to his Ohio Senate testimony this week.
Official Scott Bistrek went to the emergency room the next day and underwent CT scans, according to testimony he submitted in support of Senate Bill 118, which would make assaulting a sports official a felony. The bill was before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
“The headaches the first couple of days were worse than I have ever had,” Bistrek testified. “Two weeks later I still have occasional headaches. I am a very active person, and to not be able to do much at all for a week after was extremely hard for me. Bright lights, too much TV and sound would make my head pound.”
The incident happened in the second quarter of Dunbar’s game against Roger Bacon, and led to the rest of the game being canceled. Bistrek testified that the Dunbar player was called for a personal foul penalty after pushing a Roger Bacon player after the whistle.“
The player did not think the call was fair and was very incensed and cursing,” Bistrek told lawmakers.
“At this point, I (as shown in the released video) motioned the player off the field and told him he needed to go off for a play to calm down. The player was not being ejected from the game, just being sent to the sideline for a play to calm down. At this time the player says, (expletive) and then headbutts me.”
Bistrek said the player’s teammates and coaches intervened, even as the player moved threateningly toward another official.
Dayton Public Schools officials issued an apology to Bistrek, Roger Bacon and everyone affected by the game’s cancellation.
Bistrek said in his testimony that he was not able to officiate any sport for over a week, then went back first to volleyball, and then football after two weeks. He said he also stopped his work driving for Uber/Lyft “because I wanted to be 100% confident in having passengers in my vehicle first.”
Bistrek said he started a new job this Monday, but missed out on roughly $2,500 in income from his time away from driving and officiating.
Bistrek’s wife, Angela, testified that the incident upset her husband, a Desert Storm combat veteran, and led him to talk at first of quitting officiating all together.
Dayton Police representatives said the head-butting case was referred to the juvenile division of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office could not immediately provide a status update on the case late Wednesday afternoon.
Senate Bill 118 would make assault against a sports official a fifth-degree felony rather than a first-degree misdemeanor, if the incident occurs while the official is acting in that capacity, or if the incident is in retaliation for the person’s work as a sports official.
The senior director of officiating and sport management for the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Beau Rugg, also testified before lawmakers in support of the bill.
Earlier this month, OHSAA issued a letter with national high school sports officials, saying that, “inappropriate adult behavior at high school athletic events in Ohio has reached epidemic proportion.”
The letter called on adults to “act your age.”
Rugg testified to the Senate that for his first five years in that role, starting in 2012, OHSAA had zero reported instances of physical contact against an official. But in the year and a half since, they’ve had 10 reported incidents, some of which resulted in assault charges being filed.
Testimony was also submitted by Dustin Massie, the teenage youth baseball umpire who was confronted by a woman during a game in Springfield this spring. He concluded his testimony with, “I just want to feel safe again.”
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