Northwest Ohio’s water crisis has made even the fiercest of rivals get along, at least for a day.
The University of Toledo football team begins fall camp today, but those plans would have been halted had it not been for some help provided by rival Bowling Green State University.
When the order came down early Saturday morning that Toledo’s water was unsafe for drinking, UT assistant athletic director for sports medicine Brian Jones had to figure out how to keep roughly 100 players and coaches hydrated. So he did what anybody would do — he called a friend.
“I’ve known [BGSU assistant athletic director for sports medicine Al Castillo] for a long time,” Mr. Jones said.
“First thing that popped into my mind is that we’ve got to get water and we’ve got to fill coolers.”
Mr. Jones said going to a local grocery store or distribution station wasn’t an option because he “wasn’t about to steal water from the Toledo community.”
Instead, he loaded up two vans full of coolers and traveled 19 miles down I-75. The Falcons’ sports medicine staff used hoses to fill about 20, 10-gallon coolers in one van, and enough coolers to fill an 18-passenger van.
In total, Mr. Jones’ crew left with about 500 gallons of water, enough to get the Rockets through Tuesday.
“I told Brian, ‘Whatever you need, let us do whatever we can to help you,’ ” Mr. Castillo said.
“From a sports medicine standpoint, we try to take care of each other as best as possible. The health care of the student-athlete is well above winning or losing.”
Mr. Jones said if the water advisory isn’t lifted by midmorning today, he'll likely have to venture back for more, something BGSU welcomes if needed. However, if the crisis continues, UT may need to find another solution.
“At that point, we’ll all have to re-circle the wagons to see if that’s our best viable option,” Mr. Jones said. “I don’t know how feasible that is.”
Mr. Jones added that he devised the plan, but credit should go to UT’s head football trainer John Walters, assistant athletic trainer Kelly Stobba, graduate assistants, and his 12 students who helped carry out the water plan.
“If they [BGSU] had a problem, I’d have been doing the same thing,” Mr. Jones said.
Contact Jay Skebba at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050