Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
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High School

State enters football probe

Attorney general examining Woodmore practice

ELMORE — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is investigating circumstances surrounding the injury of a Woodmore High School student during football practice last month.

Mark Mulligan, the Ottawa County prosecutor, asked the state agency to handle an investigation by the Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services regarding a Sept. 10 varsity football practice during which an unidentified student was injured and required hospitalization. Officials would not describe the extent of the student’s injuries.

“The allegations under investigation relate to a punitive practice drill,” Mr. Mulligan wrote in a Sept. 25 letter to the attorney general’s office. He reached out to the state agency because of conflict-of-interest concerns. His son is a member of the football team and was present at the practice in question.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the investigation is ongoing. In such cases, the office determines if any criminal charges should be filed, he said. He declined to comment on the investigation’s scope.

Job and Family Services received a report related to child welfare from a confidential source, prompting the agency to open an investigation, said Director Stephanie Kowal.

Such investigations involve looking into an alleged perpetrator and alleged victim, examining if there is “risk to any other children,” and ensuring children are “safe and protected,” she said. Her agency also referred the case to law enforcement.

Woodmore Local Schools Superintendent Linda Bringman declined to answer most questions, citing the ongoing investigation.

At a Sept. 25 school board meeting, the board issued a statement indicating its commitment to “safe, enjoyable, and fulfilling” athletics. The statement indicated the school would review events surrounding the football practice and implement “any needed changes” and that district officials would “engage the football coaching staff to undertake a comprehensive review of any such modifications or improved practices.”

At the same meeting, the board accepted the resignation of assistant football coach Todd Bringman, described in Mr. Mulligan’s letter to the attorney general as the coach “most often mentioned with respect to these matters.”

The former assistant coach is Ms. Bringman’s brother-in-law. He could not be reached for comment Friday. The superintendent said the district’s review of the matter, conducted by another school official, is complete.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: or 419-724-6056, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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