CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Rick Baca and Ron Schaeper coached football for 5 years at Immaculate Heart of Mary school in Anderson Township, when their sons both played on the team.
Baca talked with FOX19 Sunday about his friend, Cincinnati Police Sgt. Schaeper, who was badly injured in a car accident August 16, as Schaeper drove to work along Columbia Parkway.
"I think most people don't make it to where he is already. Ron is a very strong individual. He's a very selfless individual. Ron was the first guy to practice, to all the football practice, and the last to leave. Ron was always looking for the kid that might not have a ride, to take him home. Ron was always there for the kids," Baca said.
Schaeper has been moved from University Hospital where, besides being treated for broken bones and other injuries, he was closely monitored for having suffered a traumatic brain injury that day.
Baca said the recovery is slowly coming along.
"Just Thursday when I saw him before they moved him to Drake, he actually started to say words now and he's very aware…although he wasn't speaking… he was very aware," he said. "I gave him an IHM hat and put the hat on, and he's just very playful with people although he's going through great pain right now."
Sunday, IHM parish declared it Ron Schaeper day, and held the day's football games in honor of the former coach.
"He was one of these good coaches who if you weren't doing something right, he let you know about it, but always in a respectful way and in a way that they (the kids) always heard it and remembered it because Ron always had a nice loud voice – he had their attention. He had their respect above all else. And he had all our respect," said friend Mark Sparks.