Gowanda 'Locker Boxing' Incident Not the First

September 27, 2013 Updated May 20, 2010 at 9:48 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 20, 2010 at 9:48 PM EDT

Gowanda, NY (WKBW) -- Eyewitness News has obtained two video clips of an April 29 "locker boxing" incident in the boy's locker room at Gowanda High School.

The videos clearly show two students wearing boxing gloves, trading punches and falling the to floor.

It ends when one participant sucker-punches the other.

The melee was an orchestrated fight between two members of the junior varsity lacrosse team, students said.

Students said it was not the first time teammates have participated in such activities in the boy's locker room.

Locker Boxing is a dangerous fighting game going on in many middle school and high school locker rooms. Kids who play hockey and lacrosse slug each other in locker room bouts, until one of the fighters gives up.

It's a game that usually takes place in secret – and sometimes goes beyond horseplay, leading to serious injuries.

Sometimes students fail to report such injuries because of the secretive nature of the event.

Five members of the Gowanda lacrosse team who either participated in the fight or videotaped it have been suspended from the sport for the remainder of the school year.

The rest of the team will be allowed to play in the season's final game on Tuesday after the school board voted to restore the season on Wednesday night.

The season was been canceled last week by Superintendent Charles Rinaldi, but parents and students complained his decision was unfair because 15 students were not present when the fight took place.

Dr. Ross Runfola, a professor of sports sociology at Medaille College, said the decision to reverse the superintendent's original punishment sends the wrong message about such dangerous behavior.

"The Gowanda school board in succumbing to the pressure of parents showed a profile in cowardice that is unparalleled in my minds eye in sports in this area," Runfola told Eyewitness News.

Parents, students and supporters who addressed the Gowanda School Board at Wednesday night's meeting said the team deserved a second chance and said the incident was nothing more than horseplay that got out of hand.

"They've learned from their mistake," said lacrosse player Nickolas Burr, who was one of the students that did not witness the fight. "That's why I believe without further ado -- our lacrosse season be reinstated."

Varsity coach Roy Logan, who founded Gowanda's lacrosse program in 1993, will not be returning to the field this school year. The school board allowed his suspension to stand for the remainder of the season.

An emotional Logan addressed students and parents following the meeting and became so upset, he excused himself from the crowd.

Locker Boxing was banned by the Greater Toronto Hockey League almost three years ago, but recent news reports suggest that it may be making a comeback in locker rooms across Canada and the U.S. – sometimes with coaches watching from the locker room sidelines.

School officials said Logan was not present during the April 29 incident.