Changes at Greater Nanticoke Area after Student’s Seizure

NANTICOKE, Pa. -- Greater Nanticoke Area school administrators made changes after a 12-year-old student athlete suffered a frightening seizure.

The seizure happened on a school bus after a softball game.

A Newswatch 16 investigation last month found the girl suffered a grand mal seizure. She also had a concussion and was left unattended for more than six minutes.

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board met Tuesday night. School administrators say they've taken several steps to make kids safer on school buses.

But the mother who blew the whistle on this case claims she's been mistreated and ignored.

"I have completely lost my trust in this district," said Sharon Cullen.

Cullen's daughter was 12 when the bus video was recorded in May in Luzerne County. The girl has epilepsy and was a member of the Greater Nanticoke Middle School softball team returning home from a game last spring. As the bus headed north on I-81, the 12-year-old girl had a grand mal seizure and a concussion but was left unattended for more than six minutes, and video shows the substitute coach looking back eight times while she lay on the bus floor.

"We could have lost a student that day. That was my daughter," Cullen said.

"We take the safety of our children seriously, including your daughter," replied Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald Grevera.

Nanticoke school officials say since that incident, they now tell all coaches about all student-athletes' medical conditions, even though state rules don't require it.

The school's superintendent says Greater Nanticoke added seizure training for coaches, even though coaches are only required to train for heart attacks and concussions.

"You won't have a school district around that has now what we have in place," Grevera said.

Cullen applauds the changes but says she should have been treated with more respect.

"I wanted some compassion," said Cullen. "Who said, 'Mrs. Cullen, we are really sorry that this happened?"

When we asked the school board president about this, school solicitor Vito Deluca interrupted us.

"Oh, come on. Really, you're going to ask that?" Deluca said. "I just explained to you what the administration did in response to the incident that was witnessed. Policy changes were made."

"We're all very sorry for what we witnessed on video," Deluca added.

Eventually, board president Len Olzinski responded.

"We are very sorry for what happened," Olzinski said.

School administrators say they're confident Greater Nanticoke Area schools are now one of the leaders in medical training and awareness for coaches.

Sharon Cullen is skeptical but says she will try to work with the school system to make sure coaches, teachers, and staffers have a better awareness of epilepsy and other medical conditions.

2 comments

  • whopperplopper

    no mention on how she received a concussion.
    i’ll assume they wear a helmet when batting & running the bases, but not on the field.
    this girl & ANY other child with ANY medical condition should be required to wear a helmet & catchers chest protector at all times while playing.
    that will placard the parents.
    good thing no one had peanuts on the bus & someone had an allergy to them. or a bee didn’t sting someone or the pollen count wasn’t too high or…………………………….
    extreme? yes

  • rcarson79

    The issue isn’t the substitute coach’s knowledge of seizures it is he sat after seeing it happening the first time. I have had seizures since I was 10 months old. I had one on the school bus on the way home one day when I was in high school. The students on the bus noticed me and told the bus driver. She pulled over and called for an ambulance. I was not friends with these students, but they did the right thing. He should have told the bus driver to pull over and call 911. He should be charged with negligence. When a child is supervised by their coach they are responsible for their safety and he did not fulfill his responsibilities. I don’t think this should fall on the school district, but they should also fire him. Sorry but I take this very personnel.

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