VIDEO: Philadelphia referee suffers brain injury after being punched by coach

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Referee suffers brain injury after being punched by coach
Referee suffers brain injury after being punched by coach: Vernon Odom reports on Action News at 4 p.m., August 29, 2018

WEST PHILADELPHIA -- Perry Ivory was refereeing a youth league basketball game in Southwest Philadelphia last week when he was punched in the face by an irate coach protesting an out-of-bounds call.

When Ivory fell, the back of his head hit the cement and he was out cold for five minutes, as horrified spectators called police and EMS.

Ivory wound up in the hospital for five days, four of which he spent in critical condition.

"They said I had bleeding on the brain and a very severe concussion," said Ivory. "They were taking me for a brain scan and I had a seizure inside the machine."

Video shows the suspect, identified by police as 26-year-old Antjuan Hart, simply walk away. He remains at large, charged with aggravated assault and a new state charge: assault against a sports official. If Hart is convicted he's looking at some serious prison time.

"He's known to police for various crimes, but it's terrible for these kids to have to see this," said Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker. "The one nice thing is when you see Mr. Ivory go down, you see the kids from both teams come out to try to help him."

The new state law is designed to protect sports officials from just this kind of outrageous violence.

"It does not have to be a referee in terms of wearing the stripes, or umpire. It can be anyone who is officiating, meaning a coach for a principal," said Legal analyst Shakah Jackson.

Perry Ivory turned down more lucrative offers to referee somewhere else the night of this attack.

Ivory says he will return to youth referring when the doctors give him the all clear.