“I did it, I’m a college basketball player.”
Josh Speidel scored his first career points Tuesday on an emotional Senior Night for Vermont. Five years ago, Speidel was involved in a car crash that left him with a traumatic brain injury. ESPN’s Myron Medcalf spoke with Speidel’s parents after his game, and they provided the initial scary outlook for their son.
When his parents reached the hospital, doctors told them that Josh had nearly lost his life and that the prognosis for the future was not bright. Josh was in a coma for five weeks. Doctors told his parents to prepare for their son living in a vegetative state and needing 24-hour care for the rest of his life. He would never read above a fourth-grade level, they said.
Speidel had already committed to Vermont, and he stuck with his commitment. On Tuesday, he was able to make his first Division I start. On his team’s first possession of the game, he caught a pass from teammate Everett Duncan and scored on a layup.
“I scored in a college basketball game,” Speidel said after the game. “You can’t take that away from me. I’m just so forever grateful.”
He also nearly added on his first career rebound, but figured shooting 100 percent in his career would make for a better stat line.
“I was thinking of maybe missing it, maybe to get an offensive rebound in there,” Speidel said (via ESPN). “But I figured I might as well go 1-for-1 and shoot 100 percent in my college career.”
“I think back to five years ago, I didn’t even know I would make it home from the hospital,” Speidel said (via the Burlington Free Press). “And to say I got out in a D-I basketball game and I scored. … I can’t put into words what that meant to me.”
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