'They had a plan of attack:' Coach details alleged assault after youth softball game
Photos show lines of scratches on Lindsey Gann's cheek and neck, along with a swollen, black-and-blue eye and bruises on her chin and arm.
The injuries, she says, were suffered Friday night at the Dornwood baseball and softball diamonds at the hands of parents who were upset she intervened in a bullying incident the night before.
"It's really shaken my spirits," Gann said.
Gann coaches in the girls' 14 and under softball league. Shawnee Co. Parks and Rec issued a news release late Monday afternoon, saying the Topeka Baseball and Softball Assoc. made the decision "(in) light of an off-premises incident following Friday evening's...games."
All other games scheduled for Monday night would go forward, according to the release issued by Parks and Rec Communications Supervisor Mike McLaughlin. However, he said officers from Shawnee Co. Park Police would be present to ensure safety.
Gann says the situation started Thursday. She and her team had attended a dedication ceremony for new field improvements. She stayed to watch her son's team play and noticed a group of kids bullying younger kids. She says she intervened when she saw it start to get physical.
"I had gotten in between them and I said, quote, this needs to stop right now," Gann said.
Gann says some of the children's parents then confronted her, but a league official who saw it told the parents to stop.
Friday night, Gann's team had a game. As she and an assistant coach carried equipment to their vehicles afterward, she says two women from the night before attacked her in the parking lot.
"They wouldn't let go of my hair, continued to slam my head into my truck, continued to punch me in my face," she recalled.
Gann was taken to the hospital by ambulance with a neck injury, bruises, cuts and scratches. But no one has been arrested.
Topeka Police told 13 NEWS Monday that officers who responded to the scene spoke to both groups of people involved, but no independent witnesses came forward to verify either side of the story. TPD Spokesperson Amy McCarter said a report will be submitted for further investigation.
Gann says she doesn't understand, especially since she says, as yet, officers have not spoken to her or taken photos of her injuries.
"In my opinion, it was completely premeditated," she said. "They knew I would be at the ball field. They had a plan of attack that they were gonna come after me - and for what? Stopping bullying? Stopping children from getting seriously hurt?"
TBSA board member James Turner confirmed to 13 NEWS that the association's board was to meet Monday night in executive session, however, he would not confirm whether board members were slated to discuss the incident.
McLaughlin said Shawnee Co. Parks and Rec is requiring all coaches in all its baseball and softball leagues to review their Sportsmanship Policy with players and parents. He said every coach is required to sign the policy at the start of each season.
Gann said she has coached at Dornwood on and off for the past four years and has never had anything like this happened. She says she is most concerned for the children who witnessed what happened Friday night.
"That's not what this game is about," she said.