The father of an Irvine water polo player who alleged his son was choked under water and struck in the throat during a match last week against Corona del Mar plans to document the incident with school officials and the CIF-Southern Section.
The player, senior Zack Kamai, suffered injuries to his throat in the Pacific Coast League match on Thursday. He received treatment from paramedics before returning to the game.
The boy’s father, Marold Kamai, said Monday that he will send a letter about the incident to the CIF-Southern Section, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, and to administrators at Corona del Mar and Irvine high schools.
Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said Monday that neither Irvine nor Corona del Mar had filed an incident report with the section. Simmons said referees are required to file reports on ejections. In the Zack Kamai incident, no foul was called by the referees.
Marold Kamai said he will also submit a video of the incident that he alleges shows his son being held under water and struck in the throat area during the game. The video was shot from a different angle than the video that accompanied OCVarsity.com’s story last week.
(Editor’s note: The video that Marold Kamai plans to submit is shown above. In the video, Zack Kamai is shown battling for position in the middle of the screen as the video begins.)
“This can’t continue (to happen),” Marold Kamai said Monday.
Corona del Mar principal Tim Bryan said the school conducted a four-hour investigation of the incident on Friday. Bryan said interviews, including one with the Corona del Mar player involved, didn’t reveal an intent to injure Kamai.
Bryan said the investigation included reviewing a video of the game.
“It’s terrible that a player got injured,” Bryan said.
The incident occurred early in the third period, just before host Irvine took a four-goal lead. Zack Kamai appeared to have trouble breathing and began floating on his back after trying to establish position at 2 meters. His father jumped into the pool to help him reach the edge.
Zack Kamai received medical attention from paramedics, but he returned to the game in the fourth period. Corona del Mar won, 11-8.
Zack Kamai also played over the weekend in the S&R Sport Water Polo Cup. The Corona del Mar player involved in the incident also played in the tournament.
On Friday, Zack Kamai said the Corona del Mar player apologized to him during a break between tournament games.
“Thank you for the apology, I really need that,” Zack said he told the player.
Zack Kamai said the player’s father and a Corona del Mar coach also apologized to him.
“It made me feel better,” Kamai said of meeting with the player. “CdM, they should have a good reputation. … They’re a top team. They should play like a top team.”