NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An attack by a student left Riverdale High School football coach Ron Aydelott with a broken eye socket, nose and jaw.
Four months and three surgeries later, Aydelott tells News 2 “I look better! But, I still have some pain. It’s part of life.”
Aydelott has been coaching football for 34 years. “You know, it’s just what I was drawn to do and had passion to do. It’s just what I do,” he said.
He says at the end of the day it’s his love of the students that led him to coaching, and that didn’t change on April 21, when he was assaulted by a student in his own office.
“I can’t tell you how many ex-players reached out, got in touch with me, etcetera…” Aydelott said.
The 17-year-old involved remains in juvenile detention, leaving Aydelott still with the emotional scars.
He says he tries not to think about or burden others, that it’s his “own dark day” that he has to deal with.
As dark as that day was, it wasn’t enough to rob him of his passion. Stepping away from coaching wasn’t a consideration.
“We’ve got really good kids, that kid was not in our program. He was coming back to try out, he had played a little bit as a freshman and you know, it really stunned me,” Aydelott said of the attacker. “He was really not that bad a kid. He probably just had some things go haywire in his life. You know kids generally aren’t like that.”
The student has said he wants to turn his life around and Aydelott’s compassion and empathy for young people have him hoping he does.
“I really hope the kid gets the help he needs. I really do. Yes I would forgive him. Yes. I would.”