Community raises thousands for critically injured Columbus high school basketball player

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COLUMBUS, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2015) – The community came together, Tuesday night, to raise money to help pay the medical bills of a teenager who is hospitalized.

Josh Speidel, 18, was in a car crash Sunday night along US 31 in Taylorsville. He is in a coma at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He is in critical condition, but he is stable. His parents said he has moved his arms and legs slightly.

Lisa and David Speidel, Josh’s parents, are thankful because so many people support them and their family.

“It’s really, really hard to put into words because it’s that support that (has) carried us and I know it’s that support that’s also carrying Josh,” Lisa Speidel said.

Josh Speidel is a basketball player for the varsity team at Columbus North High School. Once he graduates, he plans to attend the University of Vermont on a scholarship. Besides being a talented basketball player, his family and friends said he has a big heart; he has done mission work.

"Life changes and there are more important things than basketball," said David Clark, principal of Columbus North High School.

“He’s just an amazing young man,” Lisa Speidel said.

Forty-eight hours after Josh was involved in a car crash, the staff at his school organized a dinner to raise money to help pay his medical bills. It was held in the cafeteria at his high school. Dinner cost five dollars and shirts were sold too.  More than 500 people were at the dinner.

"I am very surprised to see all these people.Columbus is a really good community,said Toni Bennett, a former Columbus North student.

"I didn't realize it was Josh at the time, but when I heard he was in an accident my heart sank because I saw the aftermath of the crash," said Shelby Slack, a former student.
A moment of silence was observed before the tip-off of the boys varsity basketball game against Hamilton Southeastern. Even Columbus North's opponents were supportive, as they wore "#Joshstrong" shirts before the game and donated money.

His parents understand Josh’s recovery will be long, but they are hopeful he will get better with time.

“As much I would love to see him on the court next week, I mean, we don’t know that. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and today and so we just pray –pray and God will take care of it,” David Speidel said.

Organizers say roughly $8,000 was raised for Speidel's medical expenses.