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Popular Woonsocket High Athletic Director in a coma after serious accident

February 10, 2014

Woonsocket High School athletic director George Nasuti is in a coma following a serious accident that took place while officiating a boys' basketball game in Burrillville last Friday. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN

WOONSOCKET – Family members and friends are keeping a somber vigil for longtime city educator and athletic director George Nasuti, “a downright good guy” who remains in a coma after an accident he suffered while refereeing a basketball game in Burrillville Friday.

Details about Nasuti’s condition emerged partly on a newly created Facebook page entitled “Prayers for George Nasuti.” There, a family member confirmed George was officiating at a game when he fell to the court and struck his head. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was in serious condition as of press time Monday, according to Nasuti’s son, Christopher.

“My father George Nasuti had an accident while reffing a game,” said Christopher Nasuti. “Right now he’s not in the best condition. However, as you all know if there’s anyone who can thrive through this, it’s him.”

Christopher said the Nasuti family appreciates the support. He said family members are seeking privacy during this traumatic time and asked that friends refrain from attempting to visit his father at the hospital or asking relatives for updates about his condition, however.

“But absolutely keep him in your prayers,” he said. “I’ll be sure to let the ‘Big Guy’ know how much he’s loved. My hero will be alright.”

Nasuti, 52, was refereeing a boys’ junior varsity basketball game in the Bronco Dome at Burrillville High School when the accident happened.

A popular educator many students considered a personal mentor, Nasuti is a former principal of Woonsocket High School as well as several of the Woonsocket Education Department’s elementary schools.

Colleagues expressed shock upon learning of Nasuti’s condition and wished him a speedy recovery.

“He’s done more for the community than just coaching and being a principal,” said Ed Hunt, who will take over the varsity baseball program at WHS this spring. “He’s an educational leader, he’s into sports, he’s into kids in the community.”

George Briggs, a cross-country and track coach at WHS, added: “If it wasn’t for George we wouldn’t have sports at Woonsocket High School. That guy has pulled rabbits out of a hat to keep the sports programs going...He’s a good guy, just a downright good guy. He’s got Villa Novan blood in his veins I guess is the nicest way to put it.”

Nasuti’s son, Christopher, and Woonsocket High School Vice Principal and Football Coach Carnell Henderson will be overseeing the athletic department in George’s absence for the time being. The younger Nasuti currently lives out of state.

George Nasuti was currently working out of the McFee Administration Building and wore two hats: director of the department of Health, Athletics and Wellness and administrator of the District Educator Evaluation Program. The latter was created after the state won a multi-million dollar grant under the federal government’s “Race to the Top” initiative, designed to promulgate a number of sweeping reforms in education, including teacher evaluations.

“He’s a competitor,” said Hunt. “And if anyone can get through this fight George Nasuti is certainly one guy who can do it.”

Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo, Brendan McGair @BWMcGair03

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