Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer Kylynn and Robert Rosenburg at home on Sunday, Jan. 28.

A ringette family’s long road back

Shuswap sports organization rallies around father and daughter after car crash

Tragedy struck on the way to a ringette game in Rutland.

Fifteen-year-old Kylnn Rosenburg, who plays for the Shuswap Ringette U16 team and her dad Robert were driving through Armstrong during heavy snowfall on Dec. 11, 2016 when Robert was forced to maneuver around another vehicle which caused him to slide into an intersection.

Their vehicle crashed into a fire truck making a left turn.

“We were lucky because they were on scene right away,” Robert said.

Kylynn suffered bruising and other minor injuries and had to spend the night in hospital. Robert wasn’t so lucky – he had to spend eight and a half months in the hospital.

Complications resulting from a previous injury arose as hospital staff tried to set the broken bones in his leg caused by the crash. Robert stopped breathing and had to be rushed from Vernon Jubilee Hospital to Kelowna where he lay in a coma for about a week.

As soon as the U16 ringette team had got off the ice after winning their game they jumped into action to help their injured teammate and her dad. Members of the team visited Kylynn in the hospital and brought her fresh clothes and a phone charger so she could try to stay in touch with Robert.

“They won and they said they dedicated it to my dad and I,” Kylynn said.

Kylynn and Robert weren’t able to see each other in person until Christmas Day. Robert was eventually transferred to the Salmon Arm hospital on Jan. 24, 2017 which made visiting easier for Kylynn – both because he was closer to home and because she no longer had to travel through the scene of the accident.

The help offered by members of the team and their parents didn’t stop with some new clothes. The entire Shuswap Ringette association rallied around the Rosenburgs.

Along with help getting to and from tournaments and financial assistance provided by members of the U16 team and their families, the U14 team went Christmas carolling to raise money for Kylynn and Robert.

“It didn’t cost me a thing while I was in the hospital,” Robert said.

Robert explained the U16 team is close knit, with core members playing together since they were very young.

When Kylynn returned to the ice in the weeks following the accident, she found it very strange to be out there without her dad in the stands cheering her on.

“I think out of all my games before the accident he probably missed one,” she said.

“I’m probably the loudest one there,” Robert added with a laugh.

Although he was unable to be there in person, the other parents on the team made an effort to keep Robert involved; they texted him play-by-plays and filmed the games so he could watch them from his hospital bed.

One exciting moment for Kylynn that came as Robert was in hospital was her transition from forward, which had been her primary position since she took up the game at age five, to goalie.

Robert said he was surprised to receive texts from other parents saying Kylynn was in net but the surprise grew to elation when he heard they won the game. Kylynn is now the U16 goalie most of the time and says she really enjoys it.

Robert’s enthusiastic enjoyment of the play-by-plays from other parents was never more obvious than when the team was at the provincial tournament battling for a spot in the gold-medal game. He said he startled one of the nurses until she realized his yelling and cheering was about a ringette game.

The remainder of Robert’s hospital stay passed filled with visits from Kylynn, as well as other members of the team and their families.

At the start of this season, Robert was back at the arena cheering the U16 girls on and had also taken on the role of Director of Coaches for Shuswap Ringette.

Kylynn and Robert say they are very happy to be a part of Shuswap Ringette. They say they were lucky to have a team that treated each other like family when they needed it the most.

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