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School defends trans-identifying athlete who caused injuries during girls' basketball game: 'We condemn harmful comments'
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School defends trans-identifying athlete who caused injuries during girls' basketball game: 'We condemn harmful comments'

A Massachusetts high school voiced support for a trans-identifying male student who caused multiple injuries during a recent girls' basketball game, the Boston Globe reported Monday.

Earlier this month, a girls' high school basketball game between KIPP Academy Lynn and the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell ended in a forfeit after three players were benched due to injuries, Blaze News previously reported.

A video posted online of the February 8 game captured a female charter school student falling to the ground after a male KIPP Academy Lynn athlete ripped the ball from her hands. The female student was shown clutching her back in pain, according to the video.

At halftime, the charter school's coach decided to forfeit the game after the remaining players expressed concerns about potentially becoming injured and missing the upcoming playoffs.

A press release from the school expressed support for the coach's decision to walk away from the competition.

"The bench was already depleted going into the game with the 12-player roster having four players unable to play," the school stated. "When the coach saw three more girls go down in the first half, leaving him with five players, he made the call to end the game early."

"Once the third was injured, the remaining five expressed concern to him about continuing to play," the charter school added. "The players feared getting injured and not being able to compete in the playoffs."

Casey Crane, a spokesperson for the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell, said last week that two of the athletes were "injured in association with that player," referring to KIPP Academy Lynn's male athlete.

"We follow the Massachusetts state laws protecting the rights of our students," Crane told the Boston Globe. "But we need more guidance on the safety piece and how we do that."

According to Crane, "Most of the players did not want to continue the game after witnessing the third player injured and the roughness of that play."

The male player, who identifies as a female, is reportedly over six feet tall and has facial hair, sources told Fox News Digital. The student has also played on the school's girls' volleyball team and is a girls' track team member.

Rhonda "Nikki" Barnes, KIPP Academy Lynn's executive director, told the Boston Globe, "To the best of our knowledge, this student has never been on a men's team at KIPP."

After the injuries sparked national attention, KIPP Academy Lynn released a statement backing its trans-identifying player and condemning negative comments about the student.

Samantha Cooke, a spokesperson for the school, said, "We condemn harmful comments being made online toward members of our community, and will continue to let the vision, mission, and principles of our organization guide our actions."

Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, claimed that the media attention surrounding the reported injuries is "part of a coordinated attempt nationwide to try to remove LGBTQ people from public life."

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association handbook states, "A student shall not be excluded from participation on a gender-specific sports team that is consistent with the student's bona fide gender identity." However, students cannot be "included on the roster solely for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in competitive athletics," it adds.

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