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Commentary: "We can't let that energy go to waste."
With their son hospitalized 72 days, the first 13 in a coma, Mark and Jenness Sigman had plenty of time bedside and commuting to ask “Why?”
“It’s quite possible I’ll never know the answer,” Mark Sigman said. “However, I see Payne's recovery and the potential he has in his life to impact others and I see good coming out of a very bad and terrifying situation. So many people have told me that Payne has been inspirational and has impacted their life. We can't let that energy go to waste.”
The Play4Payne Foundation focuses on helping families where a member has experienced a Traumatic Brian Injury (TBI). To date the foundation has impacted numerous lives.
“When a person acquires a TBI, many new challenges enter into that person's life,” Payne Sigman said. “The foundation serves as an avenue to ease those challenges.”
Payne experienced a TBI on January 19, 2014. He was a junior at Bellbrook (Ohio)
En route to church, Payne’s car hit black ice and a parked truck. Careflighted to Miami Valley Hospital, he spent his final 55 days at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek community flooded the Sigmans with support, prayer and monetary donations, which is to be expected for any child in need, especially one held in such high-regard.
A two-year captain on the soccer team, Payne Sigman was also the placekicker in football.
On Nov. 1, 2013, with his team trailing Monroe (Ohio)
17-14 in the closing minutes, Payne connected on a 37-yard field goal to tie the game. Asked to execute an onside kick, he misfired and instead hit a line drive to the returner who flubbed it. Bellbrook recovered inside the 5-yardline. On fourth and goal at the 1-yardline, Payne kicked the game-winner as time expired. It was his last play in competition.
Payne’s letter jacket had to be cut off him following the accident.
The initial money collected to replace the coat (which was eventually replaced for free by the manufacturer), became the seed money for Play4Payne.
Said Mark Sigman; “Bellbrook stepped up and supported us in ways we can never repay.”
The Foundation does the same for others.
Under the control of a governing board (Dan Bennett, Dan Wilson, Beth Rogers and Mark and Jenness), Play4Payne has provided four figure donations to the Sugarcreek EMS, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Toledo TBI Center, Young Life and the Bellbrook High School Football and Soccer programs. Its most recent donation was $1,000 to the family of Lois Oglesby who died in the Dayton Oregon District Shootings.
The foundation’s newest initiative is care packages for families upon arrival at hospitals. Creation of a local TBI Center is a lofty goal. Purchasing gift cards for families at hospitals is an ongoing deed.
Payne graduated from Trine University in 2019 and is currently attending the University of Dayton to gain a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. He carries a 4.0 GPA. Payne got engaged on Thanksgiving.
“(The foundation) has little to do with me anymore,” Payne said. “It is now entirely focused on assisting others and as long as we are continuing to help families in need we plan on continuing.”
In addition to simple donations, the foundation’s main fundraiser is the Play4Payne Trivia Night. The second annual event will be held January 25, 2020 at Sugar Valley Country Club. Early registration is encouraged due to limited space.
“What Mark and Jenness do on a regular basis to reach out to families in need is quite amazing and to see Payne excelling in life today has truly inspired us all,” Bennett said. “All would agree that it’s equally rewarding in working with the families and working on behalf of Payne and his story.”PLAY4PAYNE INFO: To register for Trivia Night, simply donate or know someone who needs help, email Play4Payne@gmail.com or call Mark Sigman at 937-609-0304.