(The Canadian Press)

‘Did we win our game?’ Injured Humboldt Broncos player can’t recall bus crash

Kaleb Dahlgren was one of 13 players hurt last month when in horrific bus crash

Humboldt Bronco forward Kaleb Dahlgren remembers putting on his suit during the bus ride to a playoff game, returning to his seat and asking his friend and teammate, Nick Shumlanski, to point out his family’s house along the highway.

Other teammates joked that they weren’t interested.

“Nobody cares,” chirped goalie Parker Tobin, prompting the whole bus to burst out laughing.

Dahlgren retorted that he cared and everyone roared with laughter again.

“After that, I tossed on my headphones because I wanted to get into the zone,” he told The Canadian Press. “I put on my headphones and that’s the last thing I can remember.

“Four days later, I wake up in the hospital.”

Dahlgren, 20, was one of 13 players injured April 6 when the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi-trailer collided in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people — including 10 players — were killed.

His friend, Shumlanski, was one of the only passengers to walk away from the wreckage. Tobin died in the crash.

“I remember waking up and looking at my parents and saying, ‘Am I dreaming?’”

No, responded Mark and Anita Dahlgren.

“Did we win our game?” asked Kaleb, who suffered a fractured skull, a puncture wound in his head, a brain injury, two broken vertebrae in his neck and four others in his back.

They told him he didn’t play.

Confused, Dahlgren still thought he was injured in a hit during the game. His parents explained what actually happened.

“I had no clue, really, about anything outside the hospital,” he recalled this week. “It was really tough for me to grasp.”

READ MORE: Family of Humboldt Broncos player says GoFundMe should be split evenly

READ MORE: RCMP say cause of fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash still unknown

He didn’t know about the people, including his coach, who were killed in the crash.

He didn’t know who else was injured.

He didn’t know that the world had rallied around the team, raising more than $15 million in a GoFundMe account and displaying support by putting hockey sticks on porches and wearing jerseys.

“It was a lot to take in.”

Dahlgren’s parents suggested he check his phone if he didn’t believe them, so he did.

“It was the real deal. It really hit home.”

Dahlgren was released from hospital April 27. As of the end of last month, four of his teammates remained in hospital in Saskatoon. Others had been moved to health-care facilities closer to their homes.

The family of Xavier Labelle released a statement Monday that said he is healing from his multiple injuries and continues his rehabilitation at Saskatoon City Hospital.

Dahlgren also has a long recovery ahead: six to eight weeks for the vertebrae to heal, three to six months for the brain injury, and another year or two before his brain fully recovers.

He said that before he was released from hospital, he had a visit from a first responder who treated him at the crash site.

“He said I was helping everybody,” said Dahlgren. “When he showed up on the scene, I was trying to make sure people were OK. I was going person to person just to see how they are doing.

“I have no recollection of that at all.”

Soon afterward, he was put on a stretcher and sent to hospital.

Doctors told Dahlgren that there’s still a possibility he’ll remember the crash one day, but he’s not entirely sure that he wants to.

“No, no, I think it’s a blessing that I don’t,” he said. “I’d be traumatized, for sure.

“In other ways, I’d like to remember because then I’d remember what I was saying to them. But I know all the people we lost in the accident. I know that they all knew how I felt about them.

“I loved them all.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Police warn Barriere residents about suspicious prowlers on private property late at night or early morning hours

Residents advised to secure their vehicles and remove all valuable contents

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

African Children’s Choir making a difference in the world

Waroto Children’s Choir celebrate Christ and caring for community on six month world tour

Snowpack at normal levels, but El Niño is lurking

Despite a warmer than usual winter that has produced a dearth of… Continue reading

Letter: New party with a strong platform could form majority government in B.C.

Voters fed up with BC’s political parties open the door for a new party to enter BC politics

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read