Fight breaks out between wrestling coach, dad in NJ

February 2, 2010 3:59:03 PM PST
A scuffle broke out at a high school wrestling match in Parsippany, New Jersey, after authorities say a losing teen's father was unhappy with the match. Chris Gentile, 11, fractured his wrist in his wrestling match Friday night. But Saturday morning, the sixth grader was back in the emergency room after a parent from another team tackled Chris' wrestling coach, knocking Chris over in the process.

"It was not sportsman like at all," Gentile said. "It was hurtful, it was not man-like."

Chris was frightened and in severe pain. His mother Kathy, watched in horror as her injured son was tossed aside by a grown man.

"I couldn't believe it was really happening," she said.

Chris' volunteer coach, Dan Shamsudin, was the target of the alleged attack. He says that 40-year-old Robert Spezza was angry after his 11-year-old son lost his match.

"He came at me, hands on my face, and I wasn't sure what happened," Shamsudin said. "And then I fell to the floor."

Shamsudin says that at 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, he was no match for the much-larger Spezza.

He suffered a concussion and says his neck is still sore. No one at Spezza's home in Warren County would answer the door.

Spezza's lawyer has a different version of what happened at Belvedere High School. He says his client was reacting to a crude remark Shamsudin made about how Spezza's son had performed poorly in the match.

"I didn't say a word," Shamsudin said. "There's nothing that was said."

And even if he had, Chris' mother says there's no excuse.

"You join wrestling to learn how to lose and win with dignity," she said. "And sometimes, adults forget it."

Spezza's attorney says his client was also hurt in the scuffle, and he plans to file assault charges against Shamsudin. Doctors say Chris will have his cast off in four weeks and hopefully soon after, he'll be wrestling again.


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