Humboldt Broncos survivors' list of injuries extensive

By Charlene Tebbutt
January 30, 2019 - 5:00pm

The list is long, the injuries extensive and families of those who survived the Humboldt Broncos bus crash last spring say their lives have been changed profoundly.

As families of those involved in the crash last April continue to share their grief this week at the sentencing hearing in Melfort for the semi driver responsible for the crash, the public learned about those who survived and what their lives have been like since the crash April 6, 2018. The information was made public this week at the Melfort sentencing hearing for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 30, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to all 29 charges against him in relation to the crash.

Xavier Labelle suffered a fractured skull, facial fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Deep lacerations, including a 20-inch cut from his hairline down his forehead and across his nose and left eyelid, left him with associated nerve damage and made him unrecognizable following the crash, leading to him being misidentified as one of the Broncos players killed in the crash. Information presented to the court say the 19-year-old Broncos’ defenceman from Saskatoon also suffered fractured ribs, a fractured scapula, lacerated liver and kidney, and 16 fractures to his spine. Labelle’s recovery includes continued medical care and physiotherapy and he struggles with nerve damage to his left arm resulting in left shoulder muscle atrophy, for which he underwent surgery in December.

Layne Matechuk suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash and now walks with a significant limp. The Broncos defenceman suffered extensive facial fractures, numerous skull fractures, fractured ribs and the collapse of both his lungs. Court documents say it is still too early to determine whether Matechuk will be able to fully recover from the brain injury.

Broncos forward Tyler Smith suffered two broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and collar bone, punctured lung and had six inches of his small intestines removed. Smith suffered a stroke following the crash and now has severe nerve damage to his left shoulder and arm. He has recovered some 90 per cent use of his hand but may never regain full use again.

Ryan Straschnitzki suffered a brain bleed, concussion, memory loss and severe injuries in the crash, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. Broncos’ goalie Jacob Wasserman also suffered extensive injuries, including a brain injury, broken shoulder blade, fractured ribs and spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed from the naval down.

Morgan Gobeil remains in hospital in Saskatoon and suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple skull and facial and rib fractures, a lacerated liver and spleen and fractured knee cap. Gobeil continues to take part in physical therapy sessions to work on his balance and sitting and standing on his own. He is learning how to talk again and everyday tasks such as eating and brushing his teeth. He must take daily medication to control seizures.

Bryce Fiske’s injuries included a neck and skull fracture, pelvic fracture, lacerated spleen and punctured lung, but he is able to move freely on his own. He continues to deal with pain in his jaw and will need reconstructive surgery. Brayden Camrud continues to attend physiotherapy and suffered brain hemorrhages, and some nerve damage to his arm amongst other injuries.

Broncos’ forward Graysen Cameron underwent surgery in November to remove metal rods and screws that were placed in his back following the April crash. He continues to attend physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Matthieu Gomercic suffered a separated shoulder, concussion, abrasions, enlarged spleen and a laceration on his right foot that later became infected. Gomercic’s teeth were shifted in the crash and his jaw was slightly displaced. He continues to struggle with emotional issues as a result of the crash.

Edmonton player Derek Patter continues to recover, but struggles with his leg, which needed a rod inserted and screws following the crash. Patter’s injuries included a subdural hemorrhage, a right shin fracture and nasal bone fracture. Doctors have said Patter’s leg will never be the same.

Tisdale native Nick Shumlanski suffered injuries to his ear and a lumbar fracture. He has been advised his ear might never heal fully, and will have significant effects going forward.

Kaleb Dahlgren has been able to return to school in the months following the crash. Dahlgren also suffered severe head trauma and acquired brain injury, along with neck and back injuries. He continues to see a neurologist while attending classes at York University full time.

Sixteen others died in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. Emotional issues and post-traumatic stress still affect many of those who survived the crash as they continue to work on their recovery. Sidhu's sentencing hearing is expected to continue into Thursday.

On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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