Bartow High School football player remains hospitalized after brawl between rival teams during game

BARTOW, Fla. — A student-athlete had to be airlifted to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries when a fight broke out between rival teams during a JV football game. 

On Thursday night, Bartow Police officers were called to Bartow High School after a fight broke out on the field between the Bartow High School and Lakeland High School JV football teams. The game had to be called because officials couldn't get the fight under control.

Staff with both schools worked to restore order and separate those students involved, police say.

Tosha Cole says that her son, 16-year-old Devin Miles, had to be airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center for the injuries he sustained in the fight.

“I got numb, it’s like everything in the world stopped," Cole said. “The only thing that I wanted to do was get to my child.”

Miles, a sophomore at Bartow High School, suffered a concussion and broken collarbone. He remains at the hospital under observation in stable condition.

Miles says that there were at least 60 student-athletes tangled in the brawl. He says that the fight broke out mid-game after a play.

"I felt like a huge impact hit my head, and then I fell and that's when I felt people like stomping on me," Miles said.

His mother says that when he went down, other players kicked and stomped on him. The 10th-grader credits one of his coaches for being able to pull him out from the bottom of the pile.

“I was dizzy, I really couldn’t like feel anything," Cole told ABC Action News from his hospital bed. "My body was numb and when coach pulled me out of the pile, I yanked my helmet off and I threw it and started to hold my head.”

Cole says that what shocks her the most, was that she was never contacted by any school officials telling her that her son was being airlifted to the hospital.

“They broke the biggest one of the parent rule when they did not contact me about my son’s injury," she said.

Police say they do not believe the fight involved any staff or family members of the students.

Detectives with the Bartow Police Department are working with the Polk County School Board which is conducting an administrative review of the incident.

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