(STATS) – Former Southern Illinois player Jason Seaman was being called a hero after he protected students during a school shooting in Noblesville, Indiana, on Friday morning.
Seaman was shot three times – in his abdomen, hip and forearm – when a student opened fire in a seventh-grade class at Noblesville West Middle School. Students said Seaman ran at the shooter.
Police did not identify the shooter or another student who was wounded.
Seaman, a science teacher who also coaches football and track, was said to be doing well after having surgery on his wounds.
In a statement released Friday evening, Seaman said, “First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured, but am doing great. To all students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”
Seaman was a defensive lineman at Southern Illinois from 2007-10. The native of Mahomet, Illinois, played his first season under coach Jerry Kill, now the school’s acting director of athletics.
“Someone asked me if I was surprised by what he did, and I said, ‘Absolutely not.’” Kill said. “He was our type of kid. That’s what he stood for. He’s a great young man and I’m praying for him to be OK.”
Southern Illinois head coach Nick Hill was a teammate with Seaman on the 2007 team.
In reacting to Seaman’s bravery, Hill said, “If someone didn’t step up, how many junior high kids could’ve passed away today? They didn’t because of Jason. (At SIU) he was a great teammate, one of the team’s hardest workers. You could always trust him to do the right thing.”