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Raymond High School Comets take field for first time since crash injured five teammates
The Raymond High School Comets (red helmets) hosted Winston Churchill High School on October 19, 2018
Published Friday, October 19, 2018 4:21PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 19, 2018 9:40PM MDT
As five students from Magrath High School continue their recovery following an October 11 highway crash, their teammates on the Raymond High School Comets took the field on Friday to play their first game since the collision.
A pregame ceremony honoured the players who did not suit up for the game. Proceeds from the game and donations from those in attendance will assist the families of the injured players.
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 11, 2018, a northbound truck and a westbound truck collided at the intersection of Highway and Highway 52 between the communities of Raymond and Magrath. A southbound car was also involved in the crash.
Russ Barnett, Magrath’s mayor, confirmed the five occupants of the westbound truck were members of the Raymond High School Comets football team. Two of the teenagers suffered head injuries and were airlifted to hospital in Calgary. One teen was transported to Calgary by ground ambulance after suffering a broken neck and leg. The other two football players were transported to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge with undisclosed injuries.
Magrath High School will be hosting senior boys and senior girls volleyball tournaments this weekend and the home sides will be wearing special T-shirts of support during warmups that bear the initials of the students injured in the crash. The school’s home economics class has been selling cinnamon buns to raise money for the families, the support T-shirts are available for sale, and donations have been collected at the door at all of the school’s sporting events. All of the collected funds will help the families cover their travel costs and expenses.
All five of the boys have exhibited signs of improvement. Three have been released from hospital and the teenager who was unconscious at the time of transport is now awake and is said to be responding well to friends and family.
“The emotions kind of turned for us as they started getting better,” said Todd Heggie, principal of Raymond High School. “They’re not out of the woods yet, by any means, but they have shown some great improvement.”
Support for the football players has extended outside of the schools and into the community. A weekly fitness class has also turned into a fundraiser. “We’re all mothers and we heard about the accident,” said Jenna Smith, a member of the fitness group. “We were already planning a high fitness class and so we thought let’s throw in a silent auction and make it about those boys.”
There was also an outpouring of support for Magrath High School and the Raymond Comets on social media in the days following the crash. "It's been great to see the support that has taken place throughout the region, through the different athletic teams, and even going throughout the province and outside of the country as well," said Rob Doig, Magrath High School's principal.
Kickoff for the Raymond High School Comets game against Lethbridge’s Winston Churchill High School was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Friday. The two teams had been slated to meet on October 12 but that game was cancelled after the crash and not rescheduled.
With files from CTV Lethbridge's Terry Vogt