BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WIAT) — On November 13, 2013, Ethan Glynn and his family happened to catch the Iron Bowl on TV at their home in Minnesota.

Glynn, who was then 6 years old, was immediately hooked by the rivalry game between Alabama and Auburn.

“He said, ‘I think I’m going to root for Alabama,” said Matthew Lechner, a family friend.

During the game, which famously ended with 34-28 win for Auburn with 1 second left in the game. However, according to Lechner, that was the day Glynn began calling the Tide his team.

“From that day on, he was a diehard Alabama fan,” said Lechner, adding that former quarterback Jalen Hurts was one of Glynn’s favorite players.

Ethan Glynn pictured here at the beach. (Courtesy Matthew Lechner)

On Sept. 2, Glynn suffered a serious injury that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down during his first freshman football game for Bloomington Jefferson High. In addition to football, Glynn also played baseball and hockey.

On Monday, Glynn’s mother, Cassidy, informed the community of a major update: her 15-year-old son had been taken off a ventilator, allowing him to breathe on his own for the first time since the accident.

According to his mother, Glynn’s first words after being taken off the ventilator were “Roll Tide.”

“Never have we been so excited to hear the words ‘Roll Tide’….today they removed E from the vent and those were the first words out of his mouth,” Cassidy wrote on the family’s CaringBridge journal. “The smile and twinkle in his eyes is priceless.” 

Lechner, who spoke on behalf of Glynn’s family, said Glynn still has a long way to go for his recovery, but that the overwhelming support from the community was too kind to put into words. By Friday, a GoFundMe page to raise money for Glynn’s family had already raised nearly $170,000. Lechner said the Alabama football team had also sent Glynn a care package complete with all-things Crimson Tide, including a football signed by Nick and Terry Saban.

“It’s really moved our hearts to see his story is making an impact hundreds of miles away,” he said.

A care package that was sent to Ethan Glynn from Alabama Athletics. (Courtesy Matthew Lechner)

Lechner said it is encouraging to see Glynn’s story touch so many people.

“He’s an easy kid to root for,” he said.

To donate to Glynn’s family, click here.