Family of Bloomington teen paralyzed on football field says support has been ‘overwhelming’

Dozens of teams hit the ice this weekend in support of a Bloomington teenager who was dealt the challenge of a lifetime.

15-year-old Ethan Glynn suffered a severe neck injury on the football field in September that left him paralyzed. Five months later, a Colorado-based non-profit stepped up to help the family as he continues to recover, setting up a hockey tournament fundraiser in Prior Lake.

“I was on the field when it happened,” Ethan’s father, Corey Glynn recalled.

“And it was a typical play. It’s a play he’s made 1,000 times. This time he just didn’t get up,” Glynn continued.

Five months later, the Glynn family has been through the scare of losing their 15-year-old son, intensive treatment and therapy in Colorado — which separated them by a thousand miles for three months — and a complete re-arranging of the life of a kid just beginning to find his path.

“For him to flip the switch and just realize that you can’t undo this. You can’t change it. You can’t un-ring a bell, and you have to go forward,” Glynn said.

Ethan has played on the ice at Prior Lake before. He was back Saturday watching from the sidelines, completely surrounded by friends.

“They haven’t really missed a beat with him,” Glynn said. “All they really wanted was they just wanted Ethan back. And it’s been wonderful.”

In that months-long journey to reclaim the life he knew, Ethan met the man who put this tournament together. Non-profit DAWG Nation Hockey Foundation was named for organizer Marty Richardson’s Colorardo-based hockey team. It started when some of their players were dealt costly medical conditions.

“Each time I would pass my hat around the room and we would go visit those guys in the hospital and bring up their spirits,” Richardson said Saturday,

12 years later, he heard about the Glynns’ situation and learned they had a lot in common.

“So once he was in Colorado, and I was in Colorado, Ethan’s a number eight, I’m number eight, Yahn’s a number eight, and we thought there’s too many coincidences. I gotta get ahold of this family, and went and visited them,” Richardson said.

Just like that, the first Minnesota tournament was born 1,100 miles from the non-profit’s home base.

“I’m a CPA by trade so I follow the money stuff and I see lots of families and what their challenges are. In this case, when you’re you’re paraplegic or quadriplegic, your bills are gonna be forever,” Richardson explained.

“Many different things,” Glynn added. “We have to change out our transportation. We have to get a different vehicle for Ethan. We have to make modifications to our house. There’s medical bills from the time that he was in the ICU…” and the list went on.

“So there’s a lot of different costs that are coming up and probably some that we don’t even know about yet,” Glynn continued.

Glynn said his son is handling his new reality with the same determination he took to the football field day-in-and-day-out.

“He starts every day with a smile. He starts every day with ‘Let’s go attack the day.’ That same drive that he had with a stick or a football or a hockey puck, he’s using today in a different manner,” Glynn said.

Richardson says they’ll be sending the family home with proceeds from the event today.

“It just shows that there’s so much good out there and there’s so many people out there that want to contribute and help people that are in a struggle,” Glynn said.