Student-athletes cope with loss of season, coaches: ‘It’s been heartbreaking’


(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


North Central Athletic Director Paul Loggan has died of the coronavirus, his son, Michael, announced on Twitter.


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Navigating grief during the pandemic, it’s something we’re not used to. Student-athletes in Lawrence Township, especially seniors, have had to say goodbye to their final year, final season and two of their biggest supporters.  The loss is a feeling other districts are dealing with and a challenge that school counselors are stepping up for.

Before Lawrence North senior Tony Perkins hit the court, one of his biggest supporters always had a bit of advice.

“He always told me before every game go out there and do what you do,” said Perkins.

Words that now he will never forget, as his Assistant Coach and Manager, Jim DeSalle, lost his fight to COVID-19.

“We just wish we would have one more practice all together,” explained Perkins, “It’s been heartbreaking because there’s nothing you can do.”

Perkins never imagined this would be how his senior year would end. He’s mourning the loss of his mentor and the passing of one of his school’s super fans, Larry Rush. A man who did everything he could to support the boys and girls basketball teams for years.

“And then everything comes to a screeching halt,” said Connie Sivertson, a School Counselor for Lawrence Township.

As a school counselor, Sivertson has helped students face tragedy before, but during this pandemic, she calls it truly unique.

“All of the basketball talk really ends up being minor in comparison to the real impact of that, and that was the loss of a coach and a mentor to so many students, not just in basketball but baseball and volleyball and to coaches,” Sivertson explained, “This is a really interesting and truly unique dynamic, as a counselor I am, all of my peers have worked with students in a variety of crises and moments. This is really unique.”

It’s her job to help teens cope with the loss of their supporters and their school year. She says it’s important that young adults take control of their feelings and reach out.

“Really take charge of the things you can control. So, you can control your sleeping in, wake-up times, you can control what you eat, you can control how you move and when you move,” Sivertson said.

The uncertainty is being felt at the neighboring district. As North Central Athletic Director, Paul Loggan fights for his life. His son, Michael, says his dad has been in the hospital for eight days battling the virus.

“He did have two steps forward yesterday, but he did take a big step back. So, it’s really the power of prayer. He’s in god’s hands and we just hope he comes home to us,” said Loggan, “It’s unbelievable. We all grew up in Washington Township and just the support we’re seeing is overwhelming it just shows the pride this township takes.”

Well wishes by student athletes are helping the Loggan family through the pain.

“I know my dad would be so proud of them just the way they are handling themselves and especially those spring athletes I remember two weeks ago we were sitting on the couch talking all he was praying for was for spring sports to happen for those senior athletes,” Loggan explained.

The season may be over, but Sivertson says mentally, students need to stay in the game.

“That gratitude that pause, to truly sit down and look at the things that are good and positive,” Sivertson added.

“Try to make yourself better and try to keep yourself healthy,” said Perkins, “We still have years to go on. This isn’t the last year, just keep focusing up and keep getting better.”

The Loggan family wants to thank everyone in the Washington Township district for their support during this time.

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