"I know to many this is devastating news," the school district superintendent said

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 26, 2019 04:20 PM
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A high school football coach and father of two from Indiana died Monday, days after he suffered a stroke during a playoff game.

West Washington High School’s longtime head varsity football coach, Phillip Bowsman, was reportedly on the sidelines of Friday night’s match-up when, according to the West Washington School Corporation, a blood clot caused his stroke.

While the school initially believed he would make a “full recovery,” Bowsman, 43, experienced complications after undergoing brain surgery to relieve pressure in his skull.

On Sunday, the district’s superintendent, Keith Nance, announced he would be taken off life support.

“Phillip Bowsman is having complications associated with a stroke and currently being supported by a vent,” Nance wrote in a statement posted to social media. “He will be taken off the vent early tomorrow and the doctors believe he will pass peacefully shortly after.”

“I know to many this is devastating news,” he added. “Due to the grief that many of our staff and students will suffer from we will hold counseling services throughout the day Monday and Tuesday.”

Nance also said schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Just hours later, West Washington announced Bowsman had passed away at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

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“In true Coach Bowsman fashion he made his final act of giving by being an organ donor,” the district wrote on Facebook.

Bowsman has been employed with the district for 19 years and had served as the high school’s varsity football coach for 16 years and as the district athletic director for seven years

“A makeshift memorial is at the Senator Football Field, where Coach Bowsman stood proudly on Friday nights as the leader of our young men,” the post continued. “Feel free to stop by, leave notes, pictures, mementos, candles, etc. The lights will remain on and you can visit on your own time.”

Strokes kill about 140,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The risk of having a stroke varies by age and while the chance increases the older someone is, 34 percentof people hospitalized for stroke were less than 65 years old in 2009.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and diabetes are the leading causes of stroke.

According to his obituary, Bowsman led the school to three sectional titles, a regional title and a semi-state appearance. He also served as assistant Varsity Girl’s Basketball coach when the team won a sectional title in 2019.