Bloomington community shows support for football player paralyzed during game

Nearly a year after a Bloomington football player was left paralyzed during a game, his family members credit their positive outlook on the support system they have around them.

Arm in arm, Ethan Glynn’s friends can be found wherever he is.

"They've been amazing. Every single one of them. The community and our friends – without them, we wouldn't be where we are right now," said his dad, Corey Glynn.

Bloomington friends and neighbors have been the family’s foundation in the year since a tackle during a football game left the 16-year-old paralyzed from the shoulders down.

"Every day, he wakes up a smile. Every day, he is very positive. He doesn't really dwell on anything. He talks about that day. He talks about different things that I don't know if I would be comfortable speaking about," Glynn said. 

On Sunday, a fundraiser at Southwood Park, the green space where Ethan grew up playing, served two purposes: to raise money for Ethan's family and to help them build a new future. Friends and family members wrote positive messages on plywood that will be used in the construction of their soon-to-be ADA-compliant home.

"Ethan's a pretty positive kid, and he's fighting it with all he can and doing tremendous, but having those words, inspiration – sometimes you just need to see it," said Tim Engeldinger, a family friend. "It's kind of unreal when you think about how the community has really wrapped their arms around the family."

To make Ethan's life more accessible, more independent and easier, the family had to tear down its house in Bloomington. His brother, Parker Durkin, acknowledged it was a tough day. 

"A house is just a house. She served her purpose. All the memories we made with her in the backyard and growing up, they're still here. They're going to be there forever," he said. "To move on to the next stage in our life, it's just something we had to do, and it's exciting."

The tough day was made easier when the family thinks about what the house will soon become: a place where Ethan can turn lights on and open doors using his voice, and hang out with his friends as they all adjust to a new way of living.

"He's just been very strong, inspirational. As a dad, I’m extremely proud of what he's done and who he is," Glynn said. 

The family hopes to move into their new house this fall, ideally before the snow starts.

An online fundraiser to support the Glynn family has raised nearly $230,000, as of Sunday.