6 high school students from a swim team in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, including 5 senior members of the boys’ swim team, were hospitalized just before Christmas after a car crash on Sunday, December 22nd.
Correction: a prior edition of this article said that 7 members of a high school swim team were involved in the accident. All 7 students are seniors at Wauwatosa West high School, but only 5 are members of the swim team.
The students were involved in a crash where their vehicle was t-boned by a semi truck at 10:07 p.m. Of the 7, one, Keaton Begos, escaped serious injury. 5 of the 7 injured were taken to hospitals via Flight for Life helicopters. 5 of the 7 were members of the Wauwatosa East/West Co-Op team.
As of Tuesday, 1 of the boys remained in a hospital in Madison recovering after having his spleen removed. The parent of another swimmer, Eli Cruz, told local media that “my son had a severe concussion, with a small bleed on the brain…He had a C7 fracture, rib fractures, tailbone fracture.”
“The kids have been so great, rallying around the boys and showing them their support, and they’re so thankful,” Cruz told the local CBS affiliate. “They’re a little overwhelmed with it all because they want to reach out back to them, but the’re just so tired.”
The crash will end the high school careers for all but 1 of the seniors involved.
A GoFundMe account launched in the wake by Heidi Hegwood has raised $6,198 out of its $70,000 goal as of Wednesday evening. The athletes involved have been identified as Dylan Hopkins, Eli Cruz, Keaton Begos, Christopher Grieb, Damien Gauthier, Nathanial Mowery and Alex Gruel. Gruel, Grieb, Cruz, Hopkins, and Begos are all active members of the swimming and diving team.
The school sent 1 swimmer, Ian Kruse, and 1 diver, Mason King, to last year’s Wisconsin Boys Division I State Championship meet, but neither were involved in the crash.
From the GoFundMe page:
On Sunday, December 22nd our dear teammates & friends (Dylan, Alex, Eli, Keaton, Damian, Nathaniel, Chris) were impacted by a life-altering car accident. What should’ve been a joyous time of the year quickly turned into the most challenging time of their lives. All 7 boys are very close friends and were always seen around school with each other. Everyday they ate lunch together, hung out regularly and are truly the closest of friends. Senior Swim & Dive Captain Dylan even recruited others to join the swimming team where they often swam & cheered together. However, the unimaginable happened–they were involved in a dreadful car accident sending all 7 to the hospital with injuries varying to life threatening. Multiple helicopters, ambulances, first responders, and others responded to help each of the boys.
All 7 boys are Wauwatosa West Trojan Seniors, five of these boys are active members of the Boys Wauwatosa East/West High School Swimming & Diving Hurricane team and the others are just as much family to our team. We will not share the state that each of the boys are in for personal reasons however, they have a long road ahead of them. The road ahead is full of hurdles for all of the boys and we’d like your support in allowing them to focus on each boy’s recovery, without worries of where the money is going to come from for rising medical bills, P.T., physical, mental help and basic living expenses.
Although we are blessed that no one died we are not out of the woods yet.
Please give what you can, anything helps and will be greatly appreciated by the families of the boys. After ‘go fund me” fees, the remaining money will be split evenly between the families. Share with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, help us spread the word.
If you would prefer to donate to the individual directly feel free to mail a check to Wauwatosa West High School. 11400 W Center Street. Wauwatosa WI, 53222. Please write the check out to the individual student/family and the checks will be dropped off at the individuals home. (note: Do not write checks out to the school or team)
Team Chant: “Category 5….GO HURRICANES!!”
One team, one family, one community. Hurricane Strong.