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Violence at midget football games sparks concerns over safety

Updated: Tuesday, September 24 2013, 10:00 PM CDT
Reported by: James Tully

HARRISBURG -- Violence has escalated recently at area midget football games. The latest incident was this past Sunday when Susquehanna Township police charged a mother for being drunk at a game.     

Earlier this month in Carlisle, a man was arrested for attacking a police officer who was breaking up a fight between two cheerleaders. Before that, Silver Spring Township police say a man threatened someone with a gun.

Capitol Area Football Association (CFA) football runs 30 youth football programs around Central Pennsylvania. Paula Hunter is the president of the Cedar Cliff association. She agreed to speak with CBS 21. Her program was not involved in any of the previous incidents this month. 

"We're a 40-year-old organization, we'll still be here when the dust settles from this," Hunter said. She added that most of the kids won't go onto the NFL but they will go onto be community leaders.  

Her goal as president is to make sure they are prepped for community leadership. "Parents can take advantage of that or ruin that opportunity for their children and it's their choice," she said.

It puts the CFA in a tough situation. Hunter told CBS 21 they can't stop parents from acting up at games, they can only let them know the consequences if they do.

Mark Ritter just hopes other parents of youth football players see how ridiculous it is to lose your cool at a game.

"You gotta keep it in proportion for what it is. It's a kids sport and you really shouldn't over react," Ritter said.

Another parent, Ray Garcia, shared a similar opinion saying, "Remember there are young kids out there that look up to you."

Hunter said she understands if this sheds negative light on the CFA, but she feels it shouldn't.

"This is a 60-hour-a-week job that I do for free. I wouldn't do it if I didn't have faith in my kids and my community," she said.

Hunter said that while she can't speak for the whole CFA, her group already is looking into the cost of private security for games in light of the these latest incidents. 
Violence at midget football games sparks concerns over safety

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