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O’Gorman athlete making a comeback after car accident paralyzes him

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 8:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 8:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls family is counting their blessings after their 16-year-old son was in a car accident that left him with no feeling in his legs.

Thanks to what they’re calling a miracle, he’s now on the path to walking again.

“I’m feeling great the only thing holding me back is I can’t walk,” Connor Roemen said.

The Roemen family was spending time at their cabin at Lake Okoboji, when a car that Connor and his friends were in went off the road and hit a tree.

“What ended up happening is the sheer force basically hyper flexed his back, it basically bent it the wrong way,” Connor’s Dad Brett Roemen said.

Connor immediately couldn’t feel his legs, and the accident left him paralyzed from the belly button down. Connor was sent by helicopter to Sanford in Sioux Falls, where he was met with a 7.5 hour surgery. “I kind of remember being pulled out of the car, and laying in the grass for a bit but then after that nothing,” he added.

During the surgery the doctor’s found out that his spine was not severed and he started therapy shortly after.

Connor is going into his Junior year at O’Gorman High School, where he planned to play football, basketball, and tennis.

“I was just bummed that I couldn’t play sports, but I know I’m getting back to the basketball season coming up,” Connor said.

As Connor’s journey became more public, support came pouring in.

“It’s awesome. I love all the people that are behind me, rooting for me and I’m going to be walking out of here,” he added.

“It’s actually overwhelming, the people the calls the texts,” said Connor’s Mom Traci Roemen.

“I had 2,200 texts in the first 48 hours. Literally 2,200 texts that isn’t even the social media aspect of it,” Brett added.

A majority of that support has been driven by the O’Gorman community.

“I think everyone involved knows how serious of an accident this was, but everyone involved or around Connor is staying as optimistic as possible as well, that the future is still going to be bright for Connor,” O’Gorman Basketball Coach Derek Robey said.

A week and a half after the accident, Connor was transported to Craig Hospital in Colorado where he’ll be rehabbing for up to 8 hours a day for 6-8 weeks.

“I can tell you this kid has the best attitude, the best, I’m so proud of him. Knowing that he is an athlete, knowing that football is going on right now he just knows that one day he’s going to be back,” Traci said.

And he will be back, with one goal in mind.

“Become better than I was before the accident,” said Connor.

The Roemen’s say it could be up to a year before all of Connor’s nerves fully heal.

Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses as Connor’s journey continues.

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