Meningitis almost kills Oak Creek coach

Posted at 10:05 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 23:54:26-04

A local high school team was faced with the sudden near-death of one of their coaches.

Oak Creek's wrestling coach, Terry Nachtigall - known as Coach Nach -  is in intensive care after a case of bacterial meningitis almost killed him.

Coach Nach was unresponsive and on a ventilator after being rushed to the hospital Saturday. On Monday, he began breathing on his own, and is starting to walk and talk again.

"He was close to not being with us anymore," says Matt Sommerville. "It was really serious."

Sommerville has coached alongside Coach Nach for the past 12 years.

"I couldn't do it without him,"  Sommerville says. "The kids are always drawn to him right away. He's just the guy that will do anything for you."

That's why no one could fathom losing him.

"I can't even imagine it," says Isaiah Robinson, a senior wrestler. "I couldn't bear it. He's been such an inspiration to me. He's really pushed me to always do better. He's always there for all of us."

"It was shocking," says Ethan Kaschak, another wrestler. "I didn't really know how to react. It was so sudden. But we knew he'd fight."

The sudden bout of meningitis isn't coach Nach's first health scare. Four years ago he had a brain tumor removed.

"He's always had that strength to keep going and fighting through things," says wrestler Andrew McIntosh. "That's what he's trained us to do in wrestling, and in life."

"He's a staple of the Oak Creek wrestling program and everything it stands for," adds wrestler Ross Agg. "He's a really good role model."

Coach Nach's love for wrestling is only surpassed by how much he cares for the kids he coaches. That's why his team, and all the wrestlers who've learned from him over the years, are vowing to help him get through this.

"He knows back at home a lot of people are waiting for him, and he can't let them down," Robinson says. "He's never let us down. He's not going to start now."

Coach Nach is also a gym teacher at Meadowview Elementary School in Oak Creek. Everyone is rallying around him and his family.

Doctors say his meningitis is not contagious. They're still trying to determine what caused it.