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Swarthmore student recalls Rome soccer brawl

November 26, 2012 4:51:28 PM PST
A Swarthmore College student remains in a Rome hospital after last Thursday night's brawl inside a pub.

Via Skype, South Jersey native Nick Constantino, a junior at Swarthmore, spoke to Action News about the soccer riot nightmare he and two fellow students survived last Thursday in a popular bar just after 1:00 a.m.

"I only got a mild concussion and a few stitches in my head so other than that I'm hanging in now. I'm pretty much fine," Constantino said.

One of his friends was stabbed in the back and remains hospitalized.

Nick and his friends were in the battle of his life when Italian soccer hoodlums attacked patrons in a crowded bar called the Drunken Ship, which is popular with American students.

The mob appeared out of nowhere, wearing helmets and masks, armed with weapons including bats, knives, and pipes.

"This group of 50 or 60 guys went in with intent to hurt, seriously hurt or possibly kill, everybody in that bar. The fact that they were so well organized, they planned this ahead of time," Constantino said.

The pub was badly damaged due to the brawl.

Nick, who grew up in Marlton, said he used tables and bar stools to ward off the attackers.

"It was basically the Lazio fans organized an attack against English Tottenham fans who were in town from England for a game the following night and they just happened to all be at that bar," Constantino said.

He added, "Tottenham is known for having a large Jewish population so they were muttering anti-Semitic comments."

So far two of the alleged attackers have been arrested and charged with attempted murder.

Nick's mother Marly was understandably horrified when he called Thanksgiving morning to tell her what happened.

"It was just a very, very scary, horrific event for all of us," Mary said.

Nick Constantino is due back home on December 11th.


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