The Road to Recovery for the 7 Boys Involved in the Adam’s County Crash

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The 5 members of the Hurricane’s Swim and Dive Team (Left to Right): Eli Cruz, Dylan Hopkins, Keaton Begos, Chris Grieb, and Alex Gruel.

Payton Mayer & Lucas Metzner

Chris Grieb never had to leave class 5 minutes early.  Now, the senior can be seen before the bell inching himself with his walker, and draw-string bag in the hallway.

I went through physical therapy. Basically I just to deal with it. I just really like realized how lucky I am and how much worse it could have been.” Member of the Swim Team, and Senior Chris Grieb said. 

Recently, a group of 7 boys, all of whom are Tosa West seniors have been involved in a serious automobile accident with a semi-truck. 5 of the 7 boys are members of the swim team.

The accident had occurred from a semi-truck hitting their van on the passenger side while the boys were Northbound on Local Highway Z , and the Semi was Westbound on Wisconsin State Highway 21 in Adams County.

It has been one month, but the accident is still having a deep impact on the individuals, their families and the Tosa West community.  

“I think I reacted as everybody else would have responded. It was a big surprise and I was scared for the boys and I was hoping that everybody was going to be okay.” Head swim coach Heidi Hegwood said.  

A crash or any accident impacts each person in a different way. 

“I was pretty stunned and speechless and I just wanted to know what I could do to help but you will So know that at that time, there is nothing that you can do to help other than positive thoughts, positivity and prayers.” Hegwood said. 

Hegwood believes that even though the boys are on the team together, it’s not just being a part of a team but being a part of this family bond they have created is special. 

“But like last night, at our last dual meet of the season, having all five boys on the pool deck, you know, cheering in the best way that they can and just being there and being back with the team really made everything come almost full circle that we got to see them for some of them it was their first time out of the house and their first social outing since the accident. So it was really nice to see them come out and really see you know, just to see them still being still being part of our team and still being active members of our team.” Hegwood said. 

The 2 students who are not members of the swim team have been regarded as “just as much as family to our team,” by the Wauwatosa East/ West Hurricanes Head Coach Heidi Hegwood.

All 7 of the boys are very close friends and can often be seen talking and joking together inside and outside of Tosa West.

“This experience has made us closer. It’s hard not to after an experience like this you know, we definitely, we are great friends anyways. But I think just really made us realize how lucky we are to have each other.” Grieb said. 

The boys spend so much time together that they start and continue their growing bond as friends as teammates throughout the years of being on the swim team. 

To recover and feel better each person takes different amounts of time to be emotionally, mentally, and physically sound. 

“I think the most difficult thing about this entire experience has been really the first week or two. It was just because I was in the hospital for like five days. It was getting annoying. I really wanted to just leave, but it definitely helped that people are being really caring and really nice.” Grieb said.

Any traumatizing or life-changing experience can change people’s outlook on life and the relationships they have with others. 

“I think this experience has definitely changed me a lot. It’s hard to realize how much I changed because I might not realize it [yet]. I think I always was really grateful about life and really thankful.”

The first responders came and helped out these 7 boys over the holiday weekend when the workers could have been at home with their families but instead decided to put others first and help save their lives.

“The accident has definitely made me really thankful especially for first responders responding and you know, they obviously were working at night and it was like the Christmas weekend. So obviously I made me really thankful that they they did their job so well and helped us all out.” Grieb said.

Attached below is the link to the boys Go-Fund-Me page to help cover medical expenses, physical therapy, and other expenses during their time of need.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/hurricane-swim-team-accident-relief?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet