Teen falls through gym skylight at wrestling tournament

Parent captures scary moments on cellphone video at Gainesville high school

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A teenager is recovering after he fell through the skylight of a high school gymnasium Friday evening in Gainesville during a district wrestling tournament, according to a parent who caught the scary moments on cellphone video.

Sharyn Gonzalez said her son, a Fleming Island High School sophomore, was competing in one of the final matches of the District 1-3A tournament at Buchholz High School when a young man came tumbling down through the high ceiling of the gym.

Gonzalez had been recording her son's match and the corner of the video captures the end of the fall when the teen slams into the floor along with debris from the ceiling that scatters onto people nearby.

She said everyone in the gym was startled.

“We just started hearing some cracking sounds. A couple people thought it sounded a little like gunshots. I didn't think that, but all of a sudden you just see this boy fall from the ceiling through the skylight,” Gonzalez told News4Jax on Sunday.

Gonzalez said an ambulance and the police were called, and she hung around to make sure rescue workers and officers could see her video, in case it helped with the boy's treatment or the investigation.

“A friend of mine -- her son also wrestles -- she’s a paramedic and she tried to help but the trainers, they said they had it handled. They didn’t really want the help. But she could see from the way he had a bulge on his back that his back was probably broken,” Gonzalez said. “I'm sure with the impact, because of the way he fell on his legs, I mean, I’m not a doctor, but I’m sure it was more than just his back.”

New4Jax spoke to the boy's grandmother, Bonnie Lowe, on Monday. She said her grandson, Chadd was on the roof filimg a video when the accident happened. The fall broke several bones, Lowe said. She added that Chadd has to undergo a six hour surgery. Although he has not been able to get out of bed, he is alert and talking and they are hoping he will be released in a couple of days.


Gonzalez said there was at least one person up on the roof looking down through the hole left in the ceiling after it happened.

Gonzalez said she and her son realized later that the incident could have been even worse if the teen had fallen onto someone below and injured that person as well.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office indicated more information about the incident will be released later this week.

Despite the strange turn of events, Fleming Island set a school record in the district match, Gonzalez said.

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