A local community is coming together for a high school wrestling coach who was seriously injured in a car accident earlier this month.
Principal Keith Green said wrestling coach Corey Dwenger was involved in a “horrific” car accident on US-10 on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Dwenger suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent 16 days in the Neuro-Trauma ICU. According to a GoFundMe page, the coach has severe damage to the temporal lobe of his brain, which resulted in loss of speech and vocabulary comprehension.
He was transferred last week to a rehab facility that is two hours away from his family and team. He’s expected to spend the next eight weeks there receiving treatment.
Dwenger’s father and friend are coaching the wrestling team in the meantime, Green said.
"At first you're like, 'how is this going to effect me?' Kind of, but then you start to think about his family and how hard it is for them and you know, you just miss him," said Josh Kenny, senior on the wrestling team.
The team and everyone else at Hemlock were shocked when they heard Dwenger was seriously hurt in a traffic accident.
Kenny and his teammate Jordan Weigold, also a senior, said their coach has been an inspiration.
"He gets us all hyped up, ready to go for the matches and he's always out there yelling some move to help us get ready, up on our feet and ready to go," Weigold said.
"He'll be like on the mat, rolling around with us and like our partners and you can tell like, he's really there for the kids," Kenny said.
Dwenger is a married father of two little girls.
"It's a miracle that he even survived. We said that it should've killed him," said Nevaeh Dwenger, daughter.
"In any other scenario that would've killed any person," said Rebecca Dwenger, wife.
She said her husband called her before he started driving home that day, but when he didn't show up after several hours she became concerned.
"I already had that feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was seriously wrong. We started calling hospitals, police departments. I called jails, heaven forbid. No one knew anything. No one had records of his car being in an accident," Rebecca said.
Then there was a knock at her door. She said she opened it to a police officer.
"I opened that door and I was just like don't say those words," Rebecca said.
Luckily, he didn't. The family learned about Dwenger's crash and his condition. They made it to the hospital. After several hours, Dwenger was out of surgery and expected to survive.
Dwenger is a Hemlock High School graduate who went back to his alma mater to coach young people in the sport he loves.
"I've had him since he was a student of mine back in middle school. It's been hard for all of us, but the positive reassurance that he's getting from the community is great," Green said.
The community is helping out by contributing to a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $1,000 for the family.
"Please provide for the GoFundMe to help with his situation right now. It would be a great help," Weigold said.
While folks hope the coach will be back on the mat soon blowing his whistle, they know he has a tough road ahead.
"Just keep on fighting. You know, we'll be ready when you're ready and wrestle hard for you," Kenny said.
Rebecca said her husband is walking and started therapy on Monday. She also said she is thankful for all of the support by the community over the last couple of weeks.