After suffering multiple serious injuries stemming from an alleged assault following a Palestine High School football practice last year, Michael Stanczak, 19, intends to return to the field and fulfill his dream of receiving a varsity letter.
The letter, however, will be an 'E,' not a 'P.'
The Stanczak family removed Michael from Palestine High School after he was allegedly assaulted by team mate LeGeorge Gray after a football practice last September.
Now a student at Elkhart High School, Stanczak is awaiting a ruling from the University Interscholastic league on his eligibility to play.
As a result of the assault, Stanczak suffered a broken jaw and nose, several broken facial bones, a concussion, and what his parents referred to as “severe post-traumatic-stress-disorder.”
Originally believing her son would never play football again, Stanczak's mother, Angelica Stanczak, told the Herald-Press Wednesday that, in light of the injuries her son received last year, she is concerned about his return.
“He had to be cleared by a physician before he was allowed to play,” she said. “He went on his own, and not to our family doctor. I don't think our own doctor would have allowed him to return.”
Elkhart Head Football Coach Jason Fiacco told the Herald-Press that, although Stanczak is not currently on the Elks' active roster, he seems to be doing fine.
“He's doing well,” Fiacco said. “He's doing good, and he's also a good kid.”
Angelica Stanczak said her son, who lost a year of school due to his injuries, is, at 19-years-old, an adult, capable of making his own decisions. Still, she added, she is worried about his health.
“He has pain every day,” she said. “The PTSD is always there, too. He has had trouble sleeping through the night ever since the incident.”
Weighing in at 120 pounds before last year's incident, Stanczak's mother said he lost a lot of weight after his jaw was wired shut, and is only beginning gain it back.
His attitude, she said, and his dreams of attending college, and eventually becoming a coach, are what drive him.
“He's an athlete; he doesn't know how to slow down,” she said. “He's stubborn, and determined, and not going to let what happened last year rule his life.”