The coach of a Chatsworth youth football team, suspended for giving an over-the-counter diuretic to five members of his team of 10- and 11-year-olds, said Thursday that he violated the rules to help the boys on his team.
Ron Fidler, who coached the Chatsworth Chiefs Mighty-Mite team of the Valley Youth Conference, was suspended Wednesday by conference officials after a parent complained.
Claudine Dodd filed an injury report last week with the Devonshire Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing Fidler of giving diuretic pills to her 10-year-old son, Jeff.
"Yes, I did a stupid thing, and I admit I did a stupid thing," said Fidler, who has been involved with the Valley Conference for 15 years. "I regret it 100%. Not so much for myself, but for the program. I'm just afraid parents will pull their kids out of the program, which is the worst thing they could do.
"I didn't give it to the kids to make a better team. Of the five players, four of them were the bottom subs."
Players are weighed before their weekly games, and those weighing more than 115 pounds for three consecutive weeks are ruled ineligible to play in the Mighty-Mite division. Fidler said he gave the diuretic to the players Sept. 11 to help them reduce to 115 pounds at home over two days, but was not sure if the players had taken them.
At the weigh-in before the team's opening game Sept. 13, Fidler said, all five players given the diuretic pills weighed more than 115 pounds.
Fidler said he had never given diuretics to players before this season. At a preseason meeting, he said he told the players' parents of his plan to make diuretics available to players who were within three pounds of the division limit.
According to Stedman's Medical Dictionary, a diuretic is a drug that promotes the excretion of salts and water from the kidneys.
Bill Barnhart, president of the Valley Conference's executive board, said the case will be discussed at a meeting Monday. No further action will be taken before then, he said.