Coach accused of burning players with dry ice defends himself with aid of official

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A Wisconsin middle school girls basketball coach has been charged with a felony count of abusing a child after he performed a stunt usually reserved for his chemistry class during a team practice.

As reported by Eau Claire, Wis. NBC affiliate WEAU, La Crosse news station WKBT, the Associated Press and a handful of other outlets, 42-year-old Brady Olson has been charged with felonious child abuse after an intended experiment with dry ice went badly wrong during a practice for the seventh-grade middle school basketball team which he coaches.

According to WEAU, Olson intended to use dry ice to make the cover off a trashcan explode in the school's gym and make water shoot out of a bottle. While the success of those main acts in Olson's magical dry ice experiment remain unknown, the next stunt Olson tried clearly didn't go as planned: He placed dry ice on the knees of some of his players, leaving small marks on their knees from the dry ice, which was intended to show the effects of putting a cold substance on ones skin.

After at least one player showed the marks on their body to a parent, the Trempealeau County District Attorney began investigating the incident, culminating in the charges which the coach is currently facing.

While many might argue that the pseudoscientific experiment had no place at a middle school basketball practice -- what precisely was the trash can lid exploding off supposed to prove? -- the teacher's district administrator is steadfastly defending the honor of his coach and instructor.

"We had a bunch of parents that said this thing is blown out of proportion," Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau school district administrator Dr. David Grace told WEAU. "We were very shocked when we received a copy of the complaint."

In fact, Grace went so far as to claim that initial discussions with the Trempealeau County Sherriff's Department indicated that no charges would be forthcoming, a decision which apparently changed after the parents of at least one affected student filed a complaint with the district attorney's office.

Now Olson is desperately trying to defend his name, insisting that the team's scientific afternoon was intended as a good natured way for the squad to have fun with one another, all while awaiting his first day in court in the coming week.

"[Olson was trying to] make things fun for the girls," the teacher and coach told WEAU.

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