Football players injured in southern Alberta crash making ‘significant improvements’ in hospital

A Mormon church official in southern Alberta says two young football players who were seriously injured in a highway crash this week are recovering, while a third boy appears to have stabilized.

Greg Maxwell, the president of the Magrath Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, says most of the five players who were hurt in Thursday’s crash have connections with the church.

A statement from the stake to church members says Nate Dick and Mason Stock both suffered head injuries and were airlifted to Calgary, while Jaxon Gruninger suffered a broken leg and neck and was transported to Calgary by ground ambulance.

Maxwell says he has been getting regular updates from the families whose boys are in Calgary, where he says all three are in Foothills hospital.

He says Stock and Gruninger have made “significant improvements” and Dick, who was the most gravely injured, was at least “not getting worse.”

The Southern Alberta Minor Football Association says the five played with the Raymond High School Comets.

“They’re remarkably well, to be honest with you,” Maxwell said about the families who are with the boys in Calgary. “They’ve got lots of support.”

Two other youths were sent to a Lethbridge hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

‘A pretty small community’

RCMP say the five players were in a pickup that was entering Highway 52 at a rural intersection when it collided with a another pickup truck that was hauling a trailer.

The driver of the other truck was not hurt, and police are still investigating the crash.

Maxwell said he was driving into Lethbridge on Thursday and saw emergency workers tending to the crash victims. He recognized bystanders and made some phone calls, and when he found out who the victims were, he drove immediately to the hospital in Lethbridge.

“It’s a pretty small community. So if there’s 10 cars stopped I’m going to know who eight of them are,” Maxwell said.

“I certainly never dreamed it was going to be those five young boys,” he continued. “They’ve all spent lots of time in our home.”

Tributes for the injured players continued Saturday on social media, including from Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie and Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Jimmy Ralph, who hails from Raymond.

“Amazing to see the support across the country for these five boys in the last 24 hours. We are all praying for the kids, family and community,” Ralph tweeted.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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