Town ‘numb’ Af­ter foot­ball team mem­bers in­jured

Three re­main in hospi­tal af­ter truck col­lides with two other ve­hi­cles

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ZACH LAING AND RYAN RUM­BOLT zlaing@post­ Twit­ter: @zjlaing RRum­bolt@post­ Twit­ter: @RCRum­bolt BKauf­mann@post­ Twit­ter: @Bil­lKauf­man­njrn

The mayor of Ma­grath says res­i­dents in the small south­ern Al­berta town are “numb” af­ter five high school foot­ball play­ers were in­jured in a high­way crash Thurs­day night.

“It’s sort of par­a­lyzed the town,” said Mayor Russ Bar­nett. “We’re numb. You want to help, but we can’t. There’s noth­ing we can do to help these kids re­cover ex­cept for time.”

A post on Face­book by Foot­ball Al­berta iden­ti­fies the in­jured team­mates of the Ray­mond High School Comets as Nate Dick, Ma­son Stock, Jaxon Gruninger, Hale Og­den and Gar­rett Stock from Ma­grath, about 35 kilo­me­tres south of Leth­bridge.

Bar­nett said three of the five play­ers re­main in hospi­tal as of Fri­day.

Lo­cal me­dia re­ports Dick and Ma­son Stock suf­fered head in­juries in the crash while Gruninger suf­fered a bro­ken leg and neck. Og­den and Gar­rett Stock sus­tained un­spec­i­fied in­juries.

Dick and Gar­rett Stock are in Grade 10, Og­den is in Grade 11, and both Ma­son Stock and Gruninger are in Grade 12.

Coun­selling ser­vices will be made avail­able at Ray­mond High School on Satur­day for any­one in the com­mu­nity af­fected by the crash.

Po­lice said they were called to the in­ter­sec­tion of high­ways 5 and 52 near Ray­mond on Thurs­day around 5:45 p.m.

Moun­ties said the three-ve­hi­cle col­li­sion oc­curred when a north­bound truck haul­ing a trailer col­lided with a west­bound truck as it was en­ter­ing the high­way.

All five play­ers were trav­el­ling in the west­bound truck. A south­bound car was also in­volved in the wreck, po­lice said.

Two of the play­ers were taken to a Leth­bridge-area hospi­tal with non-life-threat­en­ing in­juries and an­other player was brought to Cal­gary via ground am­bu­lance.

Mark Od­dan, spokesman for STARS Air Am­bu­lance, said two he­li­copters flew one mis­sion each to a Leth­bridge hospi­tal on Thurs­day night, trans­port­ing two of the play­ers to the Foothills Med­i­cal Cen­tre.

One player is con­sid­ered to have life-threat­en­ing in­juries, while two have se­ri­ous non-life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

The fe­male driver of the car was trans­ported to hospi­tal in Leth­bridge with non-life-threat­en­ing in­juries, while the lone male oc­cu­pant of the north­bound truck was treated for mi­nor in­juries at the scene and re­leased.

Const. Mike Hibbs with Al­berta RCMP said po­lice from the Ray­mond de­tach­ment are work­ing with a col­li­sion an­a­lyst at the crash site.

On Twit­ter, the South­ern Al­berta Mi­nor Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion said “five Ray­mond High School foot­ball play­ers from Ma­grath were in a car ac­ci­dent to­day.”

Bar­nett said the five young men are well-known in the town of less than 2,500 peo­ple.

“Ev­ery­body is pray­ing and hop­ing for them, for sure,” Bar­nett said. “We’re all won­der­ing what we can do to help, but what do you do?”

Of­fi­cials can­celled Fri­day’s sched­uled game be­tween the Ray­mond High School Comets and the Catholic Cen­tral High School Cougars in Leth­bridge.

“Coach­ing staff from Catholic Cen­tral and Ray­mond High Schools have mu­tu­ally agreed to can­cel the game given the im­pact of the ac­ci­dent on the play­ers and com­mu­ni­ties,” a Face­book post from Ray­mond High School reads.

West­wind School Divi­sion No. 74 said in a Face­book post Thurs­day that stu­dents, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers have been deeply af­fected by the crash and the divi­sion’s “sole fo­cus re­mains with sup­port­ing those in­jured and their fam­i­lies.”

“This is a heart­break­ing and tragic ac­ci­dent, and we rec­og­nize that stu­dents and fam­i­lies from sev­eral of our schools and com­mu­ni­ties will be im­pacted by it,” the post reads.

Mem­bers of Al­berta’s mi­nor foot­ball com­mu­nity used so­cial me­dia to ex­tend their sym­pa­thies to the in­jured play­ers’ fam­i­lies and the com­mu­ni­ties of Ma­grath and Ray­mond.

The Ed­mon­ton Wild­cats said on Twit­ter their “thoughts are with the young men of Ray­mond Comets and their fam­i­lies as they deal with very dif­fi­cult si­t­u­a­tion.”

Ja­son Laf­ferty, head coach of St. Al­bert’s Bellerose Com­pos­ite High School Bull­dogs, said on Twit­ter his heart and thoughts are with the all those mem­bers of South­ern Al­berta foot­ball com­mu­nity af­fected by the crash.

Calls to Ray­mond High School were not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

Ev­ery­body is pray­ing and hop­ing for them, for sure. We’re all won­der­ing what we can do to help, but what do you do?

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