Rossford athlete finds safe haven in football

Dragon says sports gave him stability after a volatile home life

Rossford athlete finds safe haven in football
Rossford football player Parrish Dragon credits sports with helping to save him from an abusive household situation.

TOLEDO (WTOL) - For some, sports are a way to earn a scholarship. For others, it’s a chance to play the game you love.

But for one senior at Rossford, sports may be the thing that saved his life.

Parrish Dragon isn’t the star football player. In fact, as a senior, his impact for the varsity team comes as a scout player during practices.

But he provides more to this team than any touchdown ever could.

“He’s our superstar,” said Coach Todd Drusback. “He’s the superstar no one knows about, but he’s a superstar in our coaches mind and our kids too.”

His story begins back in New Hampshire. He grew up in an abusive household. His parents were both heavily involved with drugs.

Rossford football player Parrish Dragon credits sports with helping to save him from an abusive household situation.
Rossford football player Parrish Dragon credits sports with helping to save him from an abusive household situation. (SOURCE: WTOL)

“I’d get scared of my dad when he would get high,” said Dragon. “He would just scream at me, yell at me, hit me and my brothers sometimes. I would just sit inside, play video games, I would just eat because I was really scared, so then I gained a lot of weight.”

Parrish has two brothers and two sisters, none of which live here. His brothers are both younger, but he doesn’t really know his sisters.

“Both my sisters, when they were born, they were addicted to heroin and meth. So, that’s pretty hard, I’m never really going to see them again. So, that’s really hard for me,” says Dragon.

In eighth grade, Dragon and his grandmother moved to Rossford after his father was arrested for possession of heroin. The family had to escape because they feared for their own safety.

That is where this story starts to make a turn for the better.

“Once I got here, I met Coach Drusback. He’s a really good man,” says Dragon. “He’s helped me a lot. I don’t think I’d be where I was if it wasn’t for him.”

Where he is now, is completely different from where he was just four years ago. As a freshman, he was a self-admitted bully. He had suicidal thoughts. His grades suffered, and he wasn’t eligible for football. But a talk with Coach Drusback changed everything.

“I can’t relate to things he went through,” said Drusback. “But I do know that we’ve got kids on our team that deeply care about each other and care about Parrish. It gave him a safe haven, that he knew he was cared about, he knew he was loved, he knew he was wanted. It’s a great inspiration, not only for kids, but for adults going through issues and things like that.”

Today, Parrish is an honor roll student and an inspiration to everyone who knows all he has been through.

“I just want to make people see that it’s not going to be like that always,” says Dragon. “That they don’t always have to bring other people down. I try to think that way at school, everyone’s going through something. You never know, you might be the person that helps them.

Parrish is also on the bowling and tennis teams at Rossford. He hopes that by telling his story, he’s able to help others who may be going through a similar situation.

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