Tampa Bay area teen recovering after suffering spinal cord injury during football game

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Hillsborough County teenager is recovering after he was severely injured during a football game earlier this month.  

Fourteen-year-old Tyler Menard plays offense and defense for the Westchase Colts Pop Warner team. He was hit during an away game in Ft. Myers on Oct. 5. 

“He was on defense and the kid come around, he went to tackle him and they hit. The other kid was a little bit shorter, so his helmet went underneath Tyler’s,” Tyler’s father Maxwell Menard explained. “It pushed his head up and back and then dropped him on his neck and back.”

He tells 8 On Your Side his son was down on the field, unable to move.  

“He didn’t know his name. He didn’t know where he was,” said Menard. 

Tyler was partially paralyzed and had a severe concussion and spinal cord injury. He was rushed to All Children’s Hospital where he spent several days in the ICU.   

“He is such a strong-willed kid, just a stong kid in general,” said Menard. 

The teen is now recovering but uses a wheelchair to get around. He tells 8 On Your Side he plans to get back on the field as soon as he can.  

In the meantime, his father is thinking about his son’s safety.  

“Sometimes it is good to invest in the extra protective equipment,” he said.

Menard tells 8 On Your Side that while the Westchase Colts equipment is regularly tested and meets safety standards, he is urging parents to invest in more equipment for their children. 

“As far as neck braces for the kids, they don’t like to wear because they look corny. They aren’t the fashion statement but they may help,” said Menard.  

Tyler’s team and family have set up a GoFund me account to help with his medical expenses. To donate, visit their website.  

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