City High wrestlers expected to recover quickly after crash


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Derek Delaney expects to wrestle next year.

But for now, his career is on hold following a roll-over bus crash Dec. 4. He and 13 other City High JV wrestlers were on their way to a meet in New London, Iowa, about an hour south of Iowa City, when the school bus they were riding in crashed around 7 a.m.

While there were no fatalities, seven people were injured, including the driver.

Paramedics took the injured to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, and most have been released, said Dennis Delaney, Derek's father.

"I'm out for the rest of this season," the 14-year-old freshman said. "But I will wrestle next year."

His father said he received the call about his son's injury as the paramedics were transporting him to the hospital.

"My heart just jumped out of my throat," Delaney said. "That's the last call any parent wants to get."

Derek is still at Mercy Hospital with two fractured lumbar in his lower back, but he expects to make a full recovery and return to school Dec. 13 or 14.

While he is sure he'll be walking soon without complications, his father is more reserved but still hopeful. They're hoping for a full recovery, but it's still too early to know, both said.

"We're just waiting for the back brace to be fitted and for him to be up and walking around, because as of today, he still couldn't walk," Delaney said. "All we can do is wait for him to get out of the hospital and pray for him."

The causes of the crash are still being investigated, but the Washington County Sheriff's Office said icy roads may have played a part in the crash. Three other accidents, including two other roll-over and one involving a semi occurred around the same time in the area, authorities said.

Delaney did not know the condition of other members of the team, nor did he know how many were still in the hospital, but he did hear of a student who had a punctured bladder and another with a hurt neck.

"The other students were mainly treated and released, but we've been focused mainly on Derek," Delaney said.

School and hospital officials couldn't release the names or conditions of the other students.

City High Principal John Bacon said in a statement that he was hopeful the athletes would recover and thanked all those involved.

"I am extremely proud of the courage and character that our student athletes, coaches and parents demonstrated," he said. "They stayed calm and helped each other every step of the way."

Bacon would not comment on the extent of the injuries, but he did note they were not life-threatening and the injured people were expected to make a full recovery and be able to return to school "soon."

Delaney said he was scared and worried about his son when he received the call, especially because he could not talk to him right then. But he is grateful for the help he's received.

"For the most part, everyone has been really supportive up to this point," he said. "The whole thing was handled very professionally."

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