clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas high school football player strangled on the field, sparking national outrage

The offending player was only issued a partial-game suspension for the incident.

An incident during a high school football game in Texas is garnering national attention. During a Sept. 13 game between Burleson and Waco, a Burleson player was bullied physically throughout a game, before being choked by an opponent. Now school officials and the boy’s parents are fuming at the Waco Independent School district for how it handled the incident.

Burleson High School’s Jagger Gower was blindsided by a hit before a player from rival Waco University High School began choking him on the ground. Gower suffered a concussion during the game and has still not been cleared to play, while the player featured in the video was issued a partial-game suspension by the Waco school board.

In response to the incident, the Burleson High School athletic director issued a statement.

“We are shocked that this incident happened to one of our players. As it unfolded, everyone observing was momentarily stunned. Our coaches quickly ran onto the field to intervene on behalf of our player. The BHS athletic coordinator and the BISD athletic director both protested the incident with Waco ISD officials. Waco ISD assured our administrators that it would address this matter appropriately.”

Jennifer Gower, the boy’s mother, said she has been patient with the Waco School District in waiting to see how they would address the incident, but the partial-game suspension was far too lenient, considering what took place. Marcus Nelson, superintendent of the Waco School District, agreed with Gower and suspended the player indefinitely while overruling the school’s athletic director.

“Between those games, there were additional consequences that were also imposed by our coaches,” Nelson said. “It involved physical punishments, extra running and several other activities that I’m hesitant to document more clearly because I believe our student at least has some right to a confidentially. As soon as I became aware of the incident I suspended the student-athlete from all extra-curricular activities until all further notice.”

It’s unclear if the injured boy’s family will be satisfied with the punishment. They have the ability to submit a letter appealing the decision to the state athletic board to seek further punishment for Waco’s handling of the incident.