2016 State Football, Friday

Powell players line up for the National Anthem before their championship game against Star Valley during the 2016 Wyoming State High School 3A Football Championships on Nov. 11, 2016, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Hours after football teams throughout Wyoming began their seasons by sending their thoughts to Powell quarterback Ethan Asher, word arrived that his back surgery had been a success.

Ethan’s mother, Tiffani, wrote Saturday in a Facebook post that, following a four-hour surgery, doctors successfully realigned his spine “as good as it could be.” Doctors fused vertebrae together and said it won’t limit much motion in the longest section of his spine.

The senior was thrown from his pickup in a single-vehicle rollover last week. He was stabilized at Powell Valley Healthcare before being lifted to Billings, Montana, via life flight.

His spinal cord remains damaged but is no longer severed. There is separation between some vertebrae, but doctors classified his spinal cord as “whole.”

Tiffani shared a story from the moments after they received news of Ethan’s latest successful surgery.

“We had a mom that overheard our joy in the surgical waiting room today come by and ask us if we were with the football player from Powell, WY,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “She had heard the story living in Forsyth, Montana, and her children said a prayer for Ethan yesterday and then proceeded to tell us that the Columbus (Montana) football team also prayed for him.”

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Ethan’s surgery comes as he has continued to make progress. According to Tiffani, the senior didn’t respond well to commands but was initiating parts of his breathing instead of solely depending on a machine. Doctors said Ethan still has head trauma.

Tiffani repeatedly thanked the Wyoming community for its support.

Following Powell’s 32-17 season-opening win against Riverton, both teams huddled in a prayer circle for Ethan at midfield. Powell principal Tim Wormald said that fundraising efforts between the football game and the McDonald’s Classic volleyball tournament, also in Riverton, generated $6,000. Natrona County also hosted a “pass the bucket” fundraiser for the Asher family in Friday’s game against Cheyenne South as part of a split-the-pot fundraiser. The winner of that drawing donated their half of the winnings to the Asher family. Natrona County activities director Bryan Honken told the Star-Tribune after Friday’s game that the total came to $2,484.50.

Wormald also said that he was aware the town of Meeteetse raised money during its Labor Day events, but he hadn’t heard a total on those fundraising efforts. The snow cone shop in Powell, which opened Monday, has said it will donate as well.

Wormald said there are several other fundraisers being planned, in addition to the multitude of pre-ordered “Ethan Strong” shirts that will be worn at Powell’s first home volleyball match, but he didn’t know the details as of Tuesday afternoon.

Ethan was in line to be Powell’s starting quarterback this season.

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Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans


High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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