There’s some good news to share regarding the health of Vermont recruit Josh Speidel.
You’ve probably heard Speidel’s story by now. An Indiana native and one of the state’s best players in the Class of 2015, Speidel suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident back in February, an injury that left him in a coma for weeks.
But he’s awake now, talking and cracking jokes and doing what he can to work his way back to normalcy. Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star caught up with the Speidels over the weekend, and it’s clear Josh still has a long way to go in his recovery. The left side of his body still doesn’t work as well as the right side, he’s lost 50 pounds since the accident and he still needs a wheelchair to get around, but he’s starting to show signs of improvement, enough that the family still has hope that he’ll one day suit up for the Catamounts.
It’s too early to know how far Josh is capable of going. Doctors have told the Speidels all along that it could take up to 18 months to figure out a baseline for his recovery. The goal now is that he’ll still go to Vermont and play basketball. It won’t be this year, but maybe next year.
“We firmly believe that he’ll make it to Vermont at some point in time,” Lisa said.
Josh looks different physically than he did just two or three weeks ago. His leg muscles are beginning to fill out. He’s on a regular diet again, which apparently includes a lot of ice cream. Last week, the nurse’s assistant checked in on him at 3 a.m. Josh was awake. She asked him if he needed anything. “Ice cream,” Josh said.
Recovery from this kind of an injury is not unprecedented. Michigan’s Austin Hatch, who was in a coma after surviving a deadly plane crash in 2011, played for the Wolverines in 2014-15. He gave up his college eligibility earlier last month to focus on his academics, but remains a manager with the team.
A #JoshStrong Go Fund Me page has raised more than $76,000 to help pay for his medical expenses.