(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

Exploring the edges of the blues

JW-Jones takes to the Dream Café stage in Penticton for the first time tonight

Warm Up for Winter drive expands to cover the South Okanagan

Penticton clothing drive for those in need expands to the whole South Okanagan

Video: Penticton woman imparts good advice on her 100th birthday

Breezy Johnson celebrated her birthday surrounded by her friends and family

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic Hitching Post restaurant in Hedley

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

Former Kamloops sheriff caught in sex-related sting pleads guilty to lesser charge

Kevin Johnston will be sentenced on Nov. 6 for his role in communicating online with a person posing as a 14-year-old girl.

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Shuswap offers one-stop wellness for seniors

Salmon Arm centre for seniors with chronic conditions offers collaborate approach to health

Fast ferries from B.C. spotted in Egypt

Controversial aluminum BC Ferries vessels ’big white elephants covered in dust,’ eyewitness says

Canadian troops, families take shelter in hotel after Florida hurricane

Most of the Canadians were evacuated from the military base before Hurricane Michael

B.C. jury trial hears police-sting audio of man accused of killing girl, 12

Garry Handlen has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Monica Jack on May 6, 1978.

5 tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween

BC Children’s Hospital has a few suggestions to keep Oct. 31 fun

B.C. man gets seven years in prison for baseball-bat attack on Kamloops teen

Kamloops man who beat Jessie Simpson into a coma has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He was originally charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon.

Cougar spotted after Vancouver Island resident finds his decapitated cat

Reports of conservation officers actively looking for the predator in Port Hardy Tuesday afternoon

Time running out for TV debate on proportional representation

B.C. Liberal leader spars with Premier John Horgan over timing

Most Read