Erik Smedema talks to the U10 girls hockey aggregation at Beaver Dam Ancestors Center during a convenance Tuesday night. Smedema coaches three teams at the rink.
Erik Smedema is apparent with Mark Osiecki, a Univeristy of Wisconsin hockey amateur in the 1990s. Osiecki was one of four Badger hockey players who visited Smedema in the hospital after a car blow in 1989. Osiecki is now an abettor drillmaster for the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team.
A photo of Linda Smedema’s car in 1989 after the blow that afflicted her two children.
Not abounding bodies accept a life-changing moment at age 5, but Erik Smedema, a abettor for the Beaver Dam Badge Department, begin his life’s calling and a affection for hockey afterwards about blow his activity at that age.
Smedema spends several nights a anniversary apprenticeship three girls hockey teams that convenance at Beaver Dam Ancestors Center. Erik said he was asked to drillmaster afterwards his daughters Emily and Addison became interested. He has been able to acknowledgment to a action he played at their age and all the way through aerial school.
His mother is admiring to see her ancestors on the amphitheatre together.
“I never anticipation I would see my granddaughters comedy hockey,” Linda Smedema said. “To see Erik drillmaster the action he loves so abundant is fun. How abounding guys would drillmaster three teams?”
Smedema started arena hockey at age 5, but said he remembers not actuality abiding if the action was for him. His babe Emily bidding agnate doubts, but with her U12 aggregation headed to a accompaniment antagonism in Reedsburg March 14, she is added confident.
“It’s my additional time activity to state,” Emily said. “I was a little afraid the aboriginal time and didn’t accept the concept. I accept it added now and am added adequate activity into it now.”
Addison is on the U10 aggregation that will biking to Sauk Prairie this weekend for a accompaniment tournament. If their teams win, they will accompany their dad as hockey players who had success on the ice at an aboriginal age.
But it wasn’t aboriginal success that led to Erik’s adulation of hockey, instead it was a about baleful car crash.
Linda was active in October 1989 with Erik and her babe Danielle Whyte, again 2, in the car aback it was addled by a auto barter amid East Friesland and Manchester.
“We were activity to a beard arrangement for me at the time of the accident,” Linda said. “We had lived in rural Cambria aback Erik was little so I still went there for my beard appointments. My parents lived there and I was demography the kids there while I would accept my beard done. We were accepting a acceptable chat on the way to their abode about what the kids capital to be for Halloween. I don’t bethink actuality on the alley until I saw the barter and it was too backward to stop. I was abiding we were activity to be killed. I was so scared.”
Whyte, who is currently a affection and vascular nurse, had a burst neck.
“She is a analysis case at UW Children’s because the cartilage in her close grew aback because of her adolescent age,” Linda said. “Basically her arch had collapsed off of her neck.”
Erik was in the advanced bench and Linda said she saw his face was cut open.
“I had him break aloof the way he was which I begin out after was acceptable because his aback was burst and he could accept been paralyzed,” Linda said. “I can’t say abundant about Green Lake County EMS. They did all the appropriate things. The doctors said we were actual lucky. Both could accept been in wheelchairs.”
The ancestors was taken by medical helicopter from the hospital in Waupun to Children’s Hospital in Madison.
Erik had massive centralized injuries and Linda wasn’t able to appointment him due to her own injuries. But she knew her boy bare added than aloof medical help. She asked if some University of Wisconsin athletes could appointment Erik.
“He was appealing depressed so we asked the amusing artisan for football or hockey players and I anticipate the football aggregation was not accessible so the hockey boys showed up and what a abundant agglomeration of guys,” Linda said.
The ancestors abounding a hockey bold and Erik got to go into the locker allowance afterward.
“We fabricated accompany with the players and backward in acquaintance with them for absolutely a while,” Linda said.
Erik said he alone remembers the ambulance and helicopter rides from the day of the crash, but the visits with the hockey players are vivid.
“When the hockey players came, it anchored my absorption in that sport,” Erik said.
He said the blow had addition abiding access on his life.
“It helped me … to apperceive what I capital to do with my life,” Erik said. “I capital to advice bodies and I didn’t anticipate I could be a doctor. I knew I could be a badge officer, and they do acknowledge afore the aboriginal responders some times.”
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