A former NFL player who played for five teams over a ten-year career is now being hailed as a hero for talking to a troubled young man at a Texas high school and preventing a potential school shooting.
Former NFL defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, 36, currently works as a biology teacher and defensive line coach at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas.
Even before his recent heroism, Hood was recognized as a celebrity in his city — even receiving the key to the city of Amarillo earlier this year for his work on and off the field.
Last week, he noticed that one student at the school appeared to be struggling emotionally — and took the time to talk to the young man.
This decision may have saved the lives of many of Hood’s coworkers and students.
“After talking with him for a little bit, trying to explain to him, there’s multiple ways of doing about going about this,” Hood said during a television interview, according to a local news outlet. “And one way was not the way which he had planned.”
Former #Steelers now Biology teacher, Ziggy Hood fortunately saved the day from a potential school tragedy.
Hood noticed something was off with one student and took the time to talk to them.
With that one conversation, he saved many lives within the school, including the life… pic.twitter.com/jzOoEYnJxu
— The Athletes Plug (@TheAthletesPlug) August 6, 2023
Police conducted a search of campus and ultimately discovered a weapon. The student was subsequently arrested.
While many have praised Hood for potentially preventing a school shooting, he has given the credit to the local police.
“Officers Matthews and Pedraza did a wonderful job that day, they protected everybody. I’m just glad that he didn’t get hurt, somebody else didn’t get hurt, or multiple people, you know, didn’t get hurt,” Hood told the outlet in a statement.
Palo Duro head football coach Eric Mims also spoke out during a TV interview in support of Hood, crediting the intervention training that coaches and teachers receive as well as the close relationships they develop with students.
“That’s the biggest thing that AISD (Amarillo Independent School District) talks about,” Mims said.
Hood also provided advice about the importance of not caving to “the pressures of social media and trying to live up to a certain standard. This ain’t the way to do it. Talk to somebody. If it’s not the teacher, if it’s not the counselor, if it’s not the principal, go to a local coach or go to somebody. You don’t want to make a permanent decision based off a temporary motion.”