Woodmore assistant football coach Todd Bringman has been suspended after a practice incident left a 16-year-old player in a concussion.
Parents allege that Coach Bringman was abusive in disciplining the players and that the team should not have been wearing pads while practicing in excessive heat.
Woodmore Local Schools Superintendent Linda Bringman, the sister-in-law of the assistant coach, says that the district is conducting an investigation.
Parents say head coach Britton Devier was on the practice field at the time of the alleged incident. The parents told The Press they are seeking the suspension or complete removal of Coach Bringman and not necessarily other coaches from the staff.
A small group of parents and family members appeared at the school board meeting in the Woodmore Elementary cafeteria Tuesday evening intending to speak about the incident, but remained quiet when they heard about the suspension and because it was too late to place the item on the board agenda.
Supt. Bringman said the district is trying to get to the heart of the matter and find out exactly what happened at the practice.
“Unfortunately, as you know, parent and community members don’t always have all the information, but investigations are confidential,” Supt. Bringman said. “We as a school cannot go out and say, ‘That’s not a fact, or this is not a fact.’ They are probably talking amongst themselves, but they probably don’t have all the information.”
Parents told The Press that after practicing in the record 97 degree heat on Sept. 10, the sophomore was unresponsive and showing signs of paralysis when he arrived home and on the way to the hospital. They were told by coaches that their son took a hard hit in practice and received the attention of a trainer. A senior football player drove the 16-year-old, who has his temporary license, home from practice.
The parents drove their son to St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon, who immediately transported him by ambulance to the trauma unit at St. Vincent’s Mercy Hospital in Toledo.
The parents say they were informed by doctors that their son may have blood in his spinal cord, which could lead to nerve damage or paralysis. Further testing with neurologists and other specialists is pending.
They were told that their son, who has not returned to school yet, can never play contact sports again. They say their son still has hopes of playing basketball, his favorite sport, and running track this year depending on his recovery.
The parents asked The Press to keep their name and their son’s name confidential until the school’s investigation and medical testing has been completed.
The Wildcats started the season 3-0, outscoring non-league opponents Port Clinton, Cardinal Stritch Catholic, and Tiffin Calvert by a combined score of 159-27.