Bloomington's Ethan Glynn injured while playing football has incredible positivity despite paralysis

Bloomington’s Ethan Glynn injured while playing football has incredible positivity despite paralysis

Thanks for reading Football Across Minnesota (FAM), my weekly column that covers football topics in our state, from prep to pro. You can find all previous FAM columns here. – chip

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Ethan Glynn had a conversation with his mother the other day that reinforced so many things she already knew about her teenage son but left her in awe.

The Bloomington Jefferson freshman, who was left paralyzed after a football injury this season, is continuing his rehabilitation at a facility near Denver that specializes in spinal cord injuries.

The days are long, the rehabilitation work exhausting and it is too early to know the long-term prognosis for the recovery of muscle function. And yet, Ethan told his mother that he woke up each morning determined to see life as “the glass half full”.

“I’d rather be positive than negative and depressed,” Ethan said in a Tuesday night phone conversation after his therapy sessions.

Ethan’s indomitable spirit and fierce determination since his passing in September. 2 injuries stunned his parents, Cassidy Durkin and Corey Glynn, and his older brother Parker Durkin, a senior receiver in Edina and captain of the Hornets football team.

“Ethan told me he couldn’t see what could have been,” said Cassidy, who is with his son in Colorado. “He has to see what he can do in the future.”

Ethan suffered a complete spinal cord injury at C4-5 while tackling in a game. The injury left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.

His father was on the sidelines taking pictures. He knew something was wrong when his son didn’t get up.

“Until then, [as parents] we could fix everything,” Corey said. “At that point, you knew you couldn’t fix this.”

Ethan underwent three surgeries before leaving Minnesota. He said he had a few “why me” moments the first two days in hospital, but quickly focused on rehab and staying positive. His gaze and his courage give strength to his family.

“I don’t have a place to say, woe to me or woe to Ethan,” Corey said. “If he doesn’t, I can’t do it.”

Ethan has always shown extreme focus and drive to excel in three sports. He put that same competitor’s determination into his recovery. When his medical team gives him cues in rehab, Ethan asks to do more.

“I want to try to live as normal a life as possible,” he said.

His first words after being taken off a ventilator after surgery were “Roll Tide”. His passion for Alabama football stems from the 2013 Iron Bowl, the first college football game 6-year-old Ethan ever watched.

The family had just finished their basement and installed a projection screen there. Ethan and his father had no allegiance to Alabama or Auburn, so they chose sides. Ethan took Bama, his rooted father for Auburn.

This Iron Bowl will forever be known as the “Kick Six” game. With the score tied, Alabama attempted a 57-yard field goal with one second remaining. The kick fell short and Auburn’s Chris Davis returned it for a touchdown in one of the craziest finishes in college football history.

“When they returned that kick,” Corey said, “[Ethan] scared.”

But he’s stayed true to the tide ever since. They became his team.

When news broke in Alabama about Ethan’s “Roll Tide” greeting to his parents, the Tide faithful responded with a warm hug after hearing his story.

The Bama football team sent him a 10-minute video that begins with Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne saying hello and offering encouraging words. Afterwards, Byrne enters the locker room and gives each player the opportunity to share a personal message with Ethan.

“It was a really, really cool video,” Ethan said.

Residents of Alabama flooded the family’s mailbox with care packages and letters. The support came from afar.

A GoFundMe has raised over $200,000. Jordan Greenway of the Wild sent Ethan one of his sticks. PJ Fleck and all the Gophers football players sent him handwritten notes. The city’s sports organizations have reached out. The Denver Broncos sent a care package.

The outpouring of kindness overwhelmed the family.

“I’m so grateful,” Ethan said. “There are so many people who don’t even know me.”

The support helped give strength to Ethan continuing his long journey. He is currently at Craig Hospital near Denver, which has a renowned spinal cord rehabilitation center.

Ethan has already been fitted with a wheelchair which he controls through a straw-like device. He has become so proficient in using it that he has been granted a campus pass, which allows him to drive his wheelchair around the facility unaccompanied.

“He never ceases to amaze us with his positivity and drive,” Cassidy said.

Her daily schedule is filled with therapy and activities from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. There’s a teens-only program — no parents either — so he can socialize with kids his own age.

The facility provides a teacher who coordinates with each patient’s school, so Ethan resumed his classroom work this week. He also learns to play Madden on Xbox with a special device.

The schedule for his stay there will be updated by the medical team in a few weeks. His parents plan to shoot, one with Ethan and the other at home in Minnesota supporting Parker, in hopes of making his senior year as normal as possible.

Ethan’s determination gives them hope and lifts their spirits.

“I want to see him continue to be successful and do all the great things he’s going to do,” Cassidy said. “They may be different, but he’s still going to do great things.”

It teaches us all a lesson in the power of courage and positivity. Keep looking at life as a glass half full, Ethan.

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game balls

Justin Jefferson: Another record day for the Vikings receiver with a career-high 12 catches for 154 yards, breaking Randy Moss’ team record for catches in the first three seasons (236). He also completed a 23-yard pass.

St. Thomas defense + coordinator Wallie Kuchinski: The Tommies held off a Davidson offense that entered Saturday’s game averaging 45 points and a 389-yard FCS lead well below both averages (16 points and 288 rushing yards) in a surprise from the champion titleholder of the Pioneer League.

Cousins ​​Kirk: Started the game with a team-high 17 straight, then rebounded from an interception to lead a 17-game winning streak.

Davontae white sled: Minneapolis quarterback Henry rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns to help his team stay undefeated with a win over Minneapolis South.

Kyle Walljasper: The Minnesota-Duluth quarterback rushed for a career-high 123 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries in a win over Mary.

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He said What?!

“It was one of the coolest games I’ve ever seen. It was awesome. I was right there on the sidelines when he ripped that up. It’s a grown man’s game.” –The Vikings defense tackles Harrison Phillips to Cameron Dantzler’s ball-stealing strip of Bears receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a takeaway that sealed a win.

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Numbers to know

6: Total points allowed in the first half of six games combined by St. Thomas Academy. The Cadets allowed their first points before half-time this season on Friday against Mahtomedi.

6: Games in which Justin Jefferson reached 150 receiving yards, tying Randy Moss and Lance Alworth for most games reaching that mark in a player’s first three seasons in the NFL since at least 1950.

15: Back-to-back running games called by Shakopee High in a fourth-quarter practice that fell more than nine minutes behind in a win over Eden Prairie.

33: Back-to-back regular season win at home for St. Thomas.

80: Percentage of third downs converted by the Vikings against the Bears (12 of 15)

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15 yard penalty

We rented the Vikings Special Teams in this column last week. This week? Not really. A 15-yard punt from Ryan Wright and a holding penalty from DJ Wonnum gave the Bears prime field position on a touchdown just before halftime. Kicker Greg Joseph missed a 53-yard FG attempt and blocked a 51-yard FG attempt. These errors contributed to the game being closer than it should have been after a quick start to the game.

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Take your popcorn

Gophers at Illinois, Saturday, 11 a.m. This suddenly becomes the most important game of the season for the Gophers, following their loss to Purdue before the bye with a game at Penn State looming next week. The expected return from injury of star half-back Mohamed Ibrahim will give the Gophers a boost.

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An important 48 hours for…

Kirk Ciarroca. The Gophers’ offensive coordinator prepares and sets up a game plan for a No. 1-ranked Illinois defense. 1 nationally in scoring defense (8.0 points per game) and No. 2 in total defense (228 yards) and also No. 8 in sacks and takeouts. Minnesota’s offensive line had a tough showing in a loss to Purdue, and the Illini will put up another tough game in the trenches.

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This last word is dedicated to Ethan Glynn and the courage he shows on a daily basis.

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Thanks for the reading Football through Minnesota. I will post this every Tuesday morning in time for your lunchtime reading. I appreciate feedback, so please contact me anytime.

Thanks again,

Chip (@chipscoggins on Twitter)

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