(Reuters) - The middle school science teacher, hailed as a hero for intervening in an Indiana school shooting on Friday, is a 29-year-old married father who was a defensive lineman on his college football team, his alma mater and local media said.
Teacher Jason Seaman and a student at Noblesville West Middle School were shot by another student who was armed with two guns, police said. The school is attended by students in sixth through eighth grades.
Seaman swatted the guns from the shooter and wrestled him to the ground, protecting other youngsters in his science class, local media reported. The student was taken into custody in the classroom.
“If he didn’t do that then maybe the shooter could have got out and hurt a lot more people. We’re really lucky,” a boy who was in another class told TV station FOX59.
Kristi Seaman, who identified herself as Seaman’s mother on Facebook, said her son was shot in the abdomen, hip and forearm.
“I want to let everyone know that I was injured but am doing great,” Seaman said in a statement reported by local media. “To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”
Seaman has a toddler son and a one-month-old daughter, his brother, Jeremy, told the Indianapolis Star.
Members of the Seaman family could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.
Seaman was a former defensive lineman at Southern Illinois University from 2007 to 2010, the university football program wrote on Twitter.
“He was a great teammate, one of the team’s hardest workers. You could always trust him to do the right thing,” ESPN quoted head coach Nick Hill as saying.
Seaman attended the university from 2007 to 2011, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching, according to his LinkedIn profile. In 2007, he graduated from a central Illinois high school and was named athlete of the year by the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, according to the school and the newspaper.
In 2014, Seaman began working as a seventh grade science teacher at Noblesville West Middle School, about 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Indianapolis. He has also been the head football coach for the seventh grade for two years, according to his social media profiles.
In his Twitter profile, Seaman is pictured holding a yellow snake, while his feed includes images of electronics taken apart by students, super worm experiments and a LEGO catapult.
“Nothing says physics like catapults!” Seaman wrote in a tweet.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Bill Tarrant