From surviving a car crash to becoming a basketball champion, Marshfield teen thanks medical team that helped him recover

NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – A Marshfield teen took the time to thank the medical team who helped him after a car crash.

Eighteen-year-old Emmitt Konieczny and his mother Jen were on their way to visit Lakeland University in Sheboygan in November of last year when they were involved in a head-on car crash. Emmitt and his mom were separated, as Emmitt had to be flown to Thedacare in Neenah to get help from the trauma center.

About the crash, Emmitt said, “In a 3-hour span, I went from a kid running around having fun with his friends to a kid just trying to walk laps around the hospital.”

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Emmitt’s mom says the hardest moment was being away from her son while they were treated at separate facilities.

“It was frightening. That was probably one of the hardest moments, just knowing that he would be here, and I was in another place, and his dad and his brother and other family members were still on their way, but he had great care. Everybody was very good to him,” Jen Konieczny says.

As a basketball player at Columbus Catholic High School, Emmitt feared he would never play the sport he loved again.

“What kept me motivated was that it was my last year, just because I was a senior and I was never going to get to play with my friends again if this wasn’t the year, and my brother was on the team, so I wanted to play with him more and play for my dad more,” Emmitt says.

He would push himself to get better and eventually, he helped lead his team to a Division 5 title.

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About winning the tournament Emmitt said, “For us to actually have this be the year that we got it done with everything we went through, it didn’t feel real and I definitely shed some tears.”

Emmitt and his family took the time Wednesday morning to thank the staff at Thedacare for helping him through his recovery journey.

His surgeon, Dr. Kara Vande Walle said, “Stories like these make what we do worthwhile and taking care of all the patients who come through our doors, and I’m just grateful to have been a part of his care and that he’s done so well.”

Now Emmitt plans to study sports management and play basketball at the school he planned to visit the day of the crash, Lakeland University. Through it all, Emmitt shared the lessons he took from his experience.

“Tomorrow is not promised. You never know when something could happen to you, so just enjoy every moment you have with your family and friends, and tell the people that you love that you love them.”

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