South Walton HS Football Coach Charged with Child Abuse

FREEPORT, Fla- 58-year-old James Barron, a football coach at South Walton High School, has been arrested and charged with child abuse, a third-degree felony. Barron is charged with striking one of his players in the throat, twice, and also is alleged to have taught his players a technique known as the “throat thrust,” to use against opposing teams.

Barron is said to have protected his players with a medical neck brace during football practice, as he taught them to strike opponents in the throat with the part of their hands between the thumb and forefinger. He allegedly mentioned using the move against a tight end on the opposing Freeport High School team.

The child abuse charge comes after Barron is said to have screamed profanities at one of his players who missed a tackle during practice. While shouting at the player, witnesses say Barron struck the juvenile twice in the throat, and tried to strike him a third time before being blocked by the player. The juvenile told deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department that he briefly had trouble breathing after the strike, and later had soreness in his neck.

The investigation into the incident began on October 13th, the incident allegedly taking place at football practice on October 12th.

The neck-strike Barron was teaching his players is not a legal move, and can lead to injury or even death. Players deny using the move during football games, and there is no evidence to prove that technique was used during an official football game.

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