Last fall, the Legacy football team was involved in a fatal bus crash that killed the driver and left 18 others injured, including head coach Wayne Voorhees.
Now this season, the Lightning are dealing with more adversity, this time in the form of a spinal cord injury to junior varsity player Cameron Shelley. The sophomore wideout and defensive back sustained the injury, called central cord syndrome, during practice on Oct. 3.
"He was diving for the ball and got hit square in the top of the head with a kid's shoulder pad," Voorhees said. "It was one of those plays where his body went limp, and we all sprinted over to him because we knew at the point of contact that it wasn't good. Everyone was in decent position on the play, and everyone was doing the proper thing technique-wise — it was just one of those freak accidents."
In the several weeks since, the Legacy community and city of Broomfield have risen up in support of Shelley just as they did for Voorhees and others following last year's bus crash. Shelley's YouCaring page has already racked up more than $15,000 in donations, and the school and team organized a number of separate fundraisers.
"Everybody's coming together for him," Voorhees said. "It was Homecoming last week, and the school donated the proceeds of the block party to him, and we passed around a bucket at our football game and raised $1,800. And this Sunday, there's a car wash to raise some more money for him."
Mark Shelley, Cameron's dad, said the outpouring has been crucial.
"The support we've had has been phenomenal, from friendships to donations that have been really helpful with medical expenses," Mark Shelley said. "We're so encouraged by what everyone's done for us, because it means so much for us right now."
Mark noted his son "has his ups and downs, but overall he's been very determined" to get better, although the Shelleys don't know yet what his recovery capabilities are.
"It's still a bit early to know exactly what the prognosis is," Mark Shelley said. "We're grateful he's gained movement in his arms and legs, but how far exactly he can recover is still not known. The doctors don't know the answer to that right now, so we're having to be patient and just check his progress every day."
And while Shelley will be at Craig Hospital for the indefinite future as he continues to rehabilitate, there are three winnable games left on the regular-season schedule for Legacy, including Thursday's home showdown against Bear Creek at North Stadium.
The Lightning (4-3, 19th in the latest RPI) will take the field with 'CS' stickers on their helmets as they attempt to climb back into the postseason race.