Steph Okenge has always dreamed of playing basketball at the professional level.
As an elite player in high school in Ottawa, he managed to clear this milestone by leaving for Nebraska on a university scholarship.
However, last month, the 19-year-old Ottawan’s dreams were shattered forever. After driving off the road, the car he was in crashed into a concrete culvert.
The impact shattered six vertebrae, which prevents him from moving his whole body from feet to shoulders, explained his older brother Ben in an interview on the show. Radio Canada Radio ottawa morning last week.
Today, the Okenge family must live with the consequences of this terrible accident while finding a way to cover Steph’s medical expenses when the insurance he has taken out with his university expires.
Honestly, he took it way better than I expected. He’s a really positive person and it really seemssaid Ben Okenge.
What he is going through is concrete and it is really not pleasant. I’m not trying to sugarcoat things for him. But at the same time, we’re just glad he’s still alive.
In very poor condition
The accident happened on October 23, a student welcome weekend at York University, his brother said.
Steph and his teammates had been up for almost a full day, with the weekend filled with activities, basketball games and celebrations.
He was sitting in the passenger seat of his teammate’s car when his friend fell asleep at the wheel. The car veered off the highway, hit a sign and then collided with a culvert, Ben Okenge said.
When Steph Okenge arrived at the hospital, he was
in very poor conditionhe continued.
His breathing was completely assisted by a device. He couldn’t breathe on his own. So it was really scary to see him like that.
The resulting spinal cord damage is so severe, he said, that doctors believe it is unlikely Steph Okenge will ever regain the sensation or ability to move his body from shoulders to feet. .
He really started to realize this barely a week ago. And honestly, he’s doing remarkably well under the circumstances.explained Ben Okenge.
ans qui voulait être basketteur professionnel et à qui on dit qu’il ne bougera probablement plus jamais. Donc évidemment, c’est beaucoup pour lui.”,”text”:”On parle d’un jeune de 19ans qui voulait être basketteur professionnel et à qui on dit qu’il ne bougera probablement plus jamais. Donc évidemment, c’est beaucoup pour lui.”}}”>It’s about a 19-year-old who wanted to be a professional basketball player and is told he’ll probably never move again. So obviously it’s a lot for him.
Her assurance about to run out
The hope, Ben Okenge continued, is that his younger brother will eventually be able to leave the intensive care unit in Nebraska, where he has been receiving treatment since the accident, and continue his recovery in Canada.
Since he still can’t breathe on his own, his family will likely have to charter a medical plane
ridiculously expensive to bring him back, commented Ben Okenge.
With her college insurance policy only up to $500,000, her family started an online fundraiser. As of Friday, they had received over $118,000, a hefty sum but still short of the $400,000 goal.
Added to this financial burden is the emotional burden. Okenge family members do what they can to take care of each other. Ben Okenge says he feels guilty living his daily life while his younger brother is paralyzed in a bed in intensive care.
There are days when it’s really hard just to get out of bedhe pointed out.
We say we’re all on Steph’s team right now… But it sure isn’t easy. There have been many tears and not much sleep. It’s been horrible the last few weeks.
With information from Radio Canada New