The St. Joseph School District launched an investigation in late July into a video surfaced from last winter that shows the Benton High School girls’ basketball coach lecturing a player for reporting head pains to the team’s athletic trainer. The coach has since resigned.
The video is thought to have been recorded in the first week of January, during the season. The player’s report to the trainer likely would have triggered the district’s concussion protocol, which can disqualify a player from practice and games for a period of time.
In the video, Head Coach Kerstyn Bolton is seen telling the player to expect punishment, including “the worst 30 minutes of your life,” in future practices. The coach told the player she betrayed the team’s trust by speaking independently to trainer Kaci Ludwig of Mosaic Life Care.
Bolton repeatedly uses profanity in reference to the player’s actions and the possible effect on the team. Bolton states that as a consequence of the report to Ludwig, the player will be ineligible for play or practice for five days. The player is not being identified by News-Press NOW in light of health and privacy concerns, as well as the player’s status as a minor.
“I’m not saying you didn’t get elbowed in your head,” Bolton tells the player. “Your head probably does hurt. But enough to be out for five days? No. No. No. I’m not gonna dig into that. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna buy it, and you’re gonna have to earn some trust back for some people. Which is gonna suck. You understand?”
The video appears to have been recorded covertly by cellphone. The player is only visible for a portion of the video while Bolton’s head and neck are visible during most of it. Bolton did not respond to a request for comment.
Dr. Gabe Edgar, assistant superintendent of business and operations for the school district, said on July 28 that the district received a copy of the video in recent days. No knowledge of the video on the part of the district had existed before that point, Edgar said.
As the situation concerns a “personnel matter,” Edgar said, any recommendation for action, if it occurs, will be subject to approval by the Board of Education, which next meets on Monday, Aug. 24. However, the board has the authority to conduct a special meeting before that date if its members deem it necessary.