(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

Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation drafts first phase of passive housing project

The housing project will have 96 residential units for low-income families.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation requests land from Port Hardy Council

“The foundation members will be coming to council with more information at a future date.”

Mayoral candidate David Stewart steps away from Port Alice election

Port Alice has unlikely chance of holding a by-election early next year.

‘Cell Phone Service on the Island Highway’ campaign calls for better coverage along Island Highway

“There’s a possibility of various accidents, especially during the winter.”

North Island Peewee Eagles bring home silver medals from Thanksgiving tourney

With the game tied 5-5, the Eagles came up just short in a shootout.

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Washington Potst reporter Jamal Khashoggi

Sears files for bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

The company started as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s

BREAKING: Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

Most Read