Utah youth coach who decked player avoids felony charges

Cameron Smith

A 38-year-old youth football coach has been cleared of potential felony charges after a federal court found that the shoulder barge he used to knock down a 13-year-old opposing player during the run of play did not constitute abuse.

As reported by the Associated Press and Deseret News, among other sources, 38-yard-old Mapleton, Utah resident Nathan Harris will not be charged by the Utah County Attorney's Office, which instead sent his case to the Payson City Attorney's office, which could pursue misdemeanor charges against the coach for an incident which occurred in Payson in early October.

Volunteer football coach Nathan Harris strikes a player with a forearm during a youth football game — Deseret News

As previously reported on Prep Rally and a variety of other outlets, Harris left an opposing running back with a concussion after the 13-year-old ran into the coach's raised forearm during a youth football game in early October. The concussion syndromes that resulted directly from the sideline hit were expected to sideline the playing victim for at least a month.

Meanwhile, a number of witnesses to the event who were at the game came forward to tell police that Harris had intentionally raised his arm to harm the onrushing opposing player, but the coach and his legal team have adamantly insisted that the entire incident was an accident which has been blown out of proportion.

"It seems to me like a tempest in a teapot," Harris' lawyer, Dean Zabriskie told the AP.

Now that tempest may indeed have been downgraded to a significant thunderstorm, at worst, depending on whether Harris is ever brought up on local charges.

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