BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Bloomington sports community is rallying around a young athlete who suffered a devastating injury during a high school football game Friday.
A CaringBridge site set up for Ethan Durkin Glynn says the 9th grader suffered a severe neck and spinal cord injury while playing for his Bloomington Jefferson 9th grade football team. The impact from a tackle left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Ethan's parents report that he has undergone two surgeries in the days since, one to remove and repair vertebrae in his neck, and another to address bone fragments that were found following the first procedure. As of Monday afternoon, they say the teen is now able to sit angled, "which is a big win!" They wrote on CaringBridge that Ethan will remain on a ventilator for now, and tomorrow is scheduled to undergo further surgery on the back of his neck.
"He has a long road ahead of him but he is a fighter and we have no doubt that he won’t give it his all," Ethan's parents Corey and Cassidy Durkin Glynn shared on their son's page.
The Bloomington Public Schools shared a statement with KARE 11, calling what happened to Ethan "a sudden and tragic incident" that has impacted many in the district.
"Team and school staff have reached out to the family, and other close contacts to support in any way possible," district spokesman Rick Kaufman wrote. "Tomorrow, Jefferson High School and district counselors will provide direct support, and certainly longer as necessary, to any student who is impacted by the incident. The football teams will meet tomorrow afternoon to process the incident and meet with our counseling team, all who have significant experience and training in traumatic events."
Also included in the district response was a statement Jefferson principal Jaysen Anderson shared with students and staff. "Words alone cannot express the struggle we are all dealing with. Words alone cannot express the sympathy and support we share with Ethan and his family," Anderson wrote. "We encourage all impacted to speak and share openly. That is where the emotional healing will begin."
John Frein, a family friend and one of Ethan's baseball coaches, told KARE 11, "Everyone loves the kid. He's happy, laughs a lot, tells jokes, hangs out with friends. [Ethan is] just a good, well-rounded kid."
Frein added, "It's bigger than the game. It doesn't matter about sports right now. The community is giving back to him."
Ethan's teammates on the Bloomington Bantam hockey team signed get well posters after a preseason practice session Tuesday night that will be delivered to him in the hospital.
Ethan's CaringBridge site is filled with comments of support from friends and members of the sports community, as is a Facebook post from the Jefferson Hockey Boosters. "Ethan will be hospitalized for several weeks and following that the family’s home will need construction to make the house more accessible for Ethan," the post read. "I’ve always been blown away by our Jefferson hockey community and how we can rally support and I know we will do it again for #8!"
Part of that support is in the form of a GoFundMe page for Ethan and the Durkin Glynn family that as of Tuesday morning sits just short of $84,000. On Sunday a young man named Calvin Hultgren staged a lemonade stand that raised over $1,000 for Ethan in less than an hour.
"This is a testament of just how much the Durkin Glynns are loved by this amazing community," said family friend Chrissy Grochow, who wrote about the stand on the CaringBridge page.
“We’re so grateful for all of the support from friends and family and the community," Cassidy and Corey Durkin Glynn said about the outpouring of support. "It fills our hearts to know how many people care about Ethan. We know E is a fighter and in good hands."
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