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Vermont signee injured in car crash speaks first words in more than ten weeks

UVM Josh Strong

Vermont Athletics

Last August Columbus North (Indiana) HS forward Josh Speidel made his verbal pledge to the Vermont basketball program, making him the fifth Indiana native to commit to the Catamounts in the last three years. Speidel’s trek to Burlington took a tragic turn on February 1 however, as he was severely injured in a car crash.

Among the injuries suffered was a serious brain injury that left Speidel unable to speak. Speidel’s steadily made progress, and according to the Indianapolis Star Speidel spoke his first words since the accident on Thursday. His first word was “Mom,” which he said multiple times with his parents at his bedside.

“I just broke down crying,” Lisa Speidel, Josh’s mother, said. “He said it a couple more times and the nurses came in and were celebrating with us.”

Lisa posted on her Facebook account Thursday night: “Do you know what is the sweetest sound EVER….hearing my son say, ‘Mom’ for the first time in 10 ½ weeks!!!!! YES HE DID!!!! PRAISE BE TO GOD!!!”

That was just one of several breakthrough moments this week for Speidel, a 6-8 standout senior basketball player from Columbus North. He said his sisters’ names, said “grandma” and looked at pictures of his basketball team and identified his teammates.

When Lisa asked him who was No. 32, Josh said: “Me.”

According to the Star Speidel’s spent the last three weeks at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, and the ability to speak is the latest of multiple breakthroughs that he’s been able to make. Here’s to hearing even more good news regarding Josh’s health in the coming weeks.