Community rallies around injured Columbus, Ind. basketball star
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A star basketball player from Columbus, Indiana, is in critical condition at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, according to hospital officials.
The Bartholomew County Sheriff's Office says Columbus North High School senior Josh Speidel was involved in an accident on US 31 Sunday evening. He was extricated from his car by the Jaws of Life and taken to the hospital with what first responders believed were head trauma and internal injuries.
“It just kinda freaked us all out,” said Bryce Ables, a junior at Columbus North. “Everybody likes him here at North. It's just devastating for a guy like that to go down. He's such a big influence to the school.”
Many are showing support for Speidel online. A Go Fund Me page is raising thousands of dollars to cover medical expenses and hundreds are using #JoshStrong on Twitter.
Columbus North High School Principal David Clark says Speidel's teammates will use that strength tonight when they play Hamilton Southeastern at home.
“They actually sat the team down and they said ‘what do we want to do here?' and the kids said ‘Well Josh is a competitor. He would want to play.' That's the mode they've taken at this point,” said Clark.
Support is coming from hundreds of miles away at the University of Vermont, where Speidel plans to play in the fall. His future teammates and coaches made a YouTube video for the injured player.
“Just wanted to let you know we're thinking about you. Know you've made great strides already in the first day,” they said in the video.
University officials say the head coach plans to visit Speidel and his family in the hospital on Wednesday.
Clark says the community and the university's response has been heartwarming.
“It just restores your faith in mankind,” said Clark. ”That there's a lot of good in the world.”
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