Brain tumor decks Bears’ McDougall

mwochnick@theolympian.comDecember 19, 2012 

Olympia High School baseball coach Todd McDougall is in the intensive care unit at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Hospital after doctors found a brain tumor last week.

McDougall, also an English teacher at the school, began having flu-like symptoms late in the week of Dec. 3, and a CT scan at Olympia’s Providence St. Peter Hospital revealed the 3- to 4-centimeter tumor in the center of his brain.

He was taken by ambulance to Virginia Mason early last Thursday morning. McDougall had a biopsy Friday to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant.

Regardless of the biopsy’s outcome, McDougall “most likely” will begin chemotherapy and radiation treatments because of the tumor’s location, said Chris Woods, Capital High School principal and longtime family friend. Woods said he has visited McDougall and his wife, Julie, a science teacher at Olympia’s Marshall Middle School, every day at the hospital.

Woods said McDougall, 42, has some slight memory loss but is very aware of his surroundings. He said the couple have been overwhelmed by the support from the community and are very grateful.

“Every day is a better day,” Woods said. “We will get a chuckle out of him at times, and he will cry when people come by to see him, as his wife reads him the cards and letters that have come in.”

McDougall had a temporary shunt put in to help drain the fluids and relieve pressure on his brain, Woods said, and once a permanent shunt is put in later this week, he’ll be released from the hospital and will return home for the holidays. Attacking the tumor, he added, will begin after the holidays and when the biopsy results are in.

McDougall has been the baseball coach at Olympia since 1993 and also is on the football coaching staff as the defensive coordinator.

He is a Stadium High School graduate and played baseball at Whitworth University.

To follow McDougall’s progress, a “Friends for Todd McDougall” Facebook page has been created. Accounts have been set up at TwinStar Credit Union branches as well as with PayPal to help with the family’s expenses. The McDougalls have three children — 11-year-old daughter Marlee and 8-year-old twin sons Andrew and Dylan.

“It’s been a pretty emotional time,” said Tim Ahern, Olympia High School’s athletic director.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473

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