Ursuline’s Griswold has new perspective

YOUNGSTOWN — Popping shoulder pads provide a loud, thunderous noise in each collision.

High school football players and coaches alike revel in the sound. It signifies the days are getting closer to the start of another season.

Unfortunately, a couple of jarring movements meant the end of Glenn Griswold’s high school playing days at Ursuline High School.

The senior, who was likely the team’s starting quarterback, took one hit, then another after a muffed snap.

“We were running our offense against scout defense,” Griswold said. “We were driving down the field. We called an inside zone play. The snap went over my head. I turned around, tried to pick it up. The next thing I knew there was someone tackling me from behind in the back of my leg. Someone else hit me. I fell and it just twisted really, really bad. I knew it right away.

“I hit the ground face first. As I was laying there, I started to scream. I knew from the pain right away it wasn’t any rolled up ankle. It was pretty bad that it was going to be dislocated.”

Surgery followed almost a week later after the early August hit.

It was the left leg. The fibula was dislocated and fractured.

“They got everyone away from me and everything,” Griswold said. “My coaches and the trainer was looking at my ankle. I took my helmet off, and my face was into the ground. I was in so much pain. The moment I knew my season was over was when (the trainer) told me to sit up and I don’t want you to look at your leg.

“Right then and there, I knew it was done.”

The senior had two choices at that point and time — wallow in misery or find a different path this season.

His season is finished, barring a minor miracle. However, Griswold is an accomplished baseball player. He’ll play for the Fighting Irish in the spring of 2019.

The pain in his leg is still there as he’ll be on crutches for the next couple of weeks, keeping pressure off the injury. Then he’ll be in a protective boot.

A week after the surgery he was only able to be up for a minute or two off a propped position for the pain not to be there. It’ll be at least three months before he can begin strengthening his left leg.

“I’ve reflected a lot on a lot of things,” said Griswold, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound athlete who was slated to play quarterback and safety for Ursuline. “When this happens to you, it shows you who you are. You learn a lot about yourself in the process. I want to be the best person I can be. This really isn’t something I wanted to happen to me. I’m trying to make the most of it, trying to stay positive.”

His family, Ursuline coach Larry Kempe, his teammates and his girlfriend Bella Palowitz and her family have been very supportive of Griswold. Her brother Ethan is on the Ursuline team.

Kempe told Griswold he can help the coaching staff, almost like a student assistant.

“He’s going to see football from a different perspective right now in regards of what we do and how we do it from what we’re doing,” Kempe said.

He knows coming from Griswold, after he’s viewed the practice and game video, he’ll have a perspective that might be more palatable to the current players.

Sophomore Eddie DeFlorio and freshman Brady Shannon are vying for the starting quarterback position. Both players are newcomers. DeFlorio recently moved to the area from California.

Griswold knows Ursuline’s schedule is one of the toughest in the state. It’s no different with six road games to start the season and facing teams like Cleveland Benedictine, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Akron Hoban.

Griswold wants to be there for both players.

“It’s tough for a freshman and sophomore to go against the schedule we face,” he said. “It’s going to be overwhelming. I’m going to try to have to help them.”

For now, it’s up to Griswold to move on with his senior year and help the Fighting Irish as much as he can. Eventually, he’ll be ready for baseball season.

Next season, Griswold goes to Youngstown State University to pursue a mechanical engineering degree.

He’s played tackle football since he was 6 years old. It’s what he knows and watches.

Before this interview, Griswold was watching a replay of the Cleveland Browns on the HBO show Hard Knocks.

“That’s what I do with my life is watch football,” Griswold said.

This year, he sees it from a different perspective.