Palestine, TX (KLTV) - It’s been one year since an East Texas teen was badly beaten in a high school locker room.
On September 27, 2017, Michael Stanczak, then a senior at Palestine High School, was punched in the face multiple times by a teammate, resulting in severe injuries, and momentarily ending his dreams of playing football.
His then teammate Le'George Gray was arrested and charged with aggravated assault causing bodily injury. He is currently out on bond.
Stanczak describes last year's assault as a moment he still can't believe.
"It was just like a normal practice,” says Stanczak.” It just kind of fell apart from there."
The assault resulted in injuries so severe that he had to be taken to a Dallas hospital for treatment, yet no one from Palestine High School called 911.
"The administration and the school, to see the way they reacted with my child, it was just very disheartening,” says Angie Stanczak, Michael’s mother,
Stanczak has had three reconstructive surgeries with another pending. Following the assault, he’s suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was told by doctors that he would never play football again.
“But with all the help from the doctors and how good of a job they did, my doctor finally cleared me to play,” says Stanczak. “Whenever he said those words ‘oh you can play football again,’ it was just like I had a second chance."
However, a University Interscholastic League boards ruling last week may prevent Stanczak from playing anytime soon.
On September 26, the board barred Stanczak, who has since transferred to Elkhart High School to repeat his senior year, from participating in any UIL sanctioned activities, which includes football.
Transfer students are often barred from participating in UIL activities at their new school unless there are extenuating circumstances.
“I’m still going to appeal it and keep trying.” says Stanczak. “I mean, if I stop trying, that just shows that I have given up and I am not giving up anytime soon.”
The family has filed an appeal against the UIL board’s decision that they are hoping will be taken up by another board in Austin.
A petition has been started online to support the Stanczak’s appeal.
They have also filed a lawsuit against the Palestine Independent School District, hoping to change the way assaults are handled at Texas public schools.
"I believe that it is necessary in order to prevent further damage to other children and families,” says Angie Stanczak.
Gray, has a status hearing regarding the assault on October 11 in Anderson County.