Through covering Woodland Park and Cripple Creek-Victor High School athletics on a regular basis since the spring of 2010, I have gotten to know many coaches, players and administrative staff. That is one of my greatest joys as a sports writer.

On more than one occasion, I have run into coaches and players at the local Walmart, eateries around town, Safeway, and even while hiking the Manitou Incline, which is on my list to climb again before the year is out.

On Feb. 18, as some of you recall, I was in a major one-car accident. Fortunately, I have no recollection of what occurred. I woke up in Penrose Hospital on Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs about 3 that morning screaming in pain. Doctors, nurses and staff surrounded me and explained the severity of my injuries. I was rushed into emergency surgery to stabilize my right hip, ball and socket, left wrist, five broken ribs, and to stitch up numerous lacerations.

Early on the morning of Feb. 19, I underwent a seven-hour surgery to repair my right hip with a metal plate and more than a dozen screws. A plate and screws were also permanently placed into my left wrist.

Eighteen days later I left the hospital in a wheelchair. That was followed by five weeks in a modified walker, and an additional six weeks on crutches.

During that time I worked on very limited and regulated basis. On one occasion, I did a story on former Woodland Park High School track and field coach Gary Richey, whom the school’s all-weather track is named after. Trust me, it was a trick maneuvering the campus on crutches.

One of the most therapeutic parts of my recovery was the genuine heartfelt concern from numerous coaches and community members in Woodland Park and Cripple Creek. I was humbled by the phone calls and visits I received, as well as the many meals that came way. Nearly every coach I called or talked with in person first asked me how I was doing before getting into the crux of our conversation. Those folks included Woodland Park boys basketball coach John Paul Geniesse, girls basketball coach Del Garrick, baseball coach/mayor/restaurateur Neil Levy, golf coach Brian Gustafson, wrestling coach Keith Sieracki, football coach/athletic director Joe Roskam, track coach Ron Payton, girls soccer coach Dan Ganoza, boys soccer coach Noel Sawyer and softball coach Dale Huntington.

I got the same heartfelt response from those at Cripple Creek, including Chris Spoerl, the school’s athletic director/volleyball/girls basketball coach, and principal Tory Richey. Speaking of, Tory, are we still on for lunch someday at the Bamboo Court in Colorado Springs?

I am thankful for a lot of things in my life. And you, the residents and people of Teller County, are on that list.

I hope we continue to cultivate our relationships on and off the fields of play. Thank you for being part of my life and for allowing me to be a part of yours.

God willing, I will see you at a game or event sometime soon.

Danny Summers has been covering sports at all levels in the Pikes Peak region since 2001. Send your story ideas and feedback to danny.summers@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Pikes Peak Newspapers Sports Reporter

Pikes Peak Newspapers Sports Reporter

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