Community rallies as Oak Harbor football coach recovers from assault

Tyson Boon in his home this week, with his wife BreAnna and son Tyson.   - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Tyson Boon in his home this week, with his wife BreAnna and son Tyson.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A well-known Oak Harbor youth football coach who suffered a serious brain injury following an alleged assault has made remarkable progress, but is still recuperating as the community rallies to help him and his family.

Tyson Boon, a 2006 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, ended up at Harborview Medical Center Sept. 9 after he was punched outside of Mi Pueblo in downtown Oak Harbor.

Boon said in an interview Thursday that he remembers much of the Saturday night at the restaurant up until being injured, but then can’t recall anything until he woke up at the hospital five days later. He was among a group of people celebrating his friend’s retirement that night.

A 30-year-old South Whidbey man allegedly punched Boon in the mouth, according to Oak Harbor Police. The suspect hasn’t been charged as detectives continue to investigate the case.

Boon said that his friends later told him that he wasn’t looking when he was punched and fell to the ground.

Boon’s lip was ripped open and the force of the impact broke the back of his skull and caused bleeding in the front of his brain. He was airlifted to Seattle and remained in intensive care until the following Thursday.

Boon’s wife, BreAnna, said he had a lot of difficulties early on. He wasn’t able to walk for days, he had trouble performing simple tasks and difficulty speaking. She said he was visited by about 50 family members and friends, but didn’t recognize many people or remember them afterward.

As can occur with head injuries, Tyson was very agitated after regaining consciousness. He got angry and struck out at doctors and nurses.

Two weeks later, he’s improved greatly and even returned to coaching the Oak Harbor Youth Football League.

“It’s up and down, depending on the day,” he said.

He’s going to physical, speech and occupational therapy. He doesn’t experience the blinding headaches anymore, but he said it feels like there’s a weight inside his skull.

He has trouble remembering things.  BreAnna said this week he drove her to her parent’s house, thinking that they were dating and she still lived there.

“We’ve been married five years,” she said.

One of the worst things, Tyson said, is that he can’t pick up his 1-year-old son, also named Tyson. The doctor won’t let him pick up anything larger than 10 pounds.

“He’s used to me picking him up and throwing him in the air,” Tyson said, explaining that the little guy waits at the window until he returns from appointments.

Tyson said he’s hoping to go back to work in October, but it will be up to doctors to decide. He works for his uncle as a dairy farmer and drives a truck, making deliveries to dairy farms throughout the region.

Fortunately, the family has a lot of support from the community. Boon was born and raised on Whidbey Island.

He’s part of the third generation of Boons to live on the island. In fact, Boon Road is named after his family.

To help the family with expenses, friends have been raising money. The “Tyson Boon Account” was set up at Wells Fargo bank to give people a way to donate. A friend set up a stand to raise money outside of Albertson’s and others had a bake sale at Fort Nugent Park.

His sister, Sarah Reinstra, has organized the Tyson Boon Benefit Garage Sale and Bake Sale. It will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Oak Harbor Christian School gym on E. Whidbey Avenue.

People who want to donate to the garage or bake sale can drop off items at the home of Tyson’s parents, Les and Joan Boon, at 372 SW Fourth Ave. in Oak Harbor.

If a donation needs to be picked up, contact Reinstra either through Facebook or call 360-914-7354. For updates on Tyson’s progress, go to


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