Bigger than football

Coach returns to school after suffering cardiac arrest


Coach Rapp teaches 4th period AP Economics on Sep. 6th.

by Jad Baajour, Sports Editor

Following his cardiac arrest that occurred on Aug. 16, Assistant Football Coach Tom Rapp returned to both teaching and coaching on Aug. 20 while continuing his recovery process. Rapp is entering his 44th year of teaching economics and coaching football as they have both become a major part of his life.

 At around 5 p.m. on Aug. 16, the players were heading back into the indoor football field when Rapp began to suffer a cardiac arrest. Offensive Coordinator Coach Brad Bailey was the first one to notice Rapp laying on the ground. Bailey came to the conclusion that he had collapsed and began doing CPR immediately.

“I rounded the corner around the baseball field and I saw him out, laying on the ground,” Bailey said. “My first one second thought was someone was just joking around because it was just so dramatic the way he was laid out, and then I took two more steps and realized, oh my gosh, that’s Rapp.”

Bailey proceeded to call head athletic trainer Coach Christopher Foley to continue administering the CPR.

“[I had to] check the scene, stay calm and trust [my] training,” Foley said. “[There was] no time to be nervous.”

Rapp is progressing through his recovery better than expected and hopes to be able to go back to his daily routine as soon as possible. As a proactive person, he doesn’t like to sit around when he could be lifting weights or teaching students.

“For me to sit at home for another two to three weeks, I would’ve gone crazy because that’s just not me,” Rapp said. “There was motivation to come back because I wanted to get back into the routine of teaching [students] in the classroom and being with [players] outside on the football field; that’s what it’s all about. That’s what I do.”

Rapp’s wife and Special Education teacher, Barbara Rapp, knew it was important for Rapp to get back to both the classroom and football field because that’s what he’s been used to for the past four decades.

“I told him [he needs] the students and the players, because that’s his life and he loves it,” Mrs. Rapp said. “It’s what keeps him going.”

Coach Rapp is an early bird, coming up to the school at 7 a.m. to help out with the laundry, equipment and whatever else is needed.

“He does so much behind the scenes that nobody sees,” Bailey said. “He’s tremendous, and we’re very thankful that he’s okay.”

Along with being a mentor to the coaches, Rapp is also very supportive of his students and players.

“I’ve known Coach Rapp since seventh grade,” varsity football linebacker junior Austin Weets said. “He’s a very supportive coach, and he’s going to be there for you no matter what happens.”

Rapp’s second period AP Economic class welcomed Rapp back with a heartwarming round of applause upon his return.

“That brought tears to my eyes, to be honest with you,” Rapp said. “It’s very nice that they think of you in that way. It’s a special feeling for a teacher when you come in and you know that you’re wanted.”