FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A tragic accident over the holiday break is sending shock waves through the Northrop High School community.
Noah Barbknecht,15, was paralyzed on a skiing trip in Vermont on Christmas Eve.
“For me it was kind of heartbreaking in a way because it’s someone you see every single day at school, and they’re not going to be there for a while,” said Carissa Bloom, Noah’s friend and classmate.
Barbknecht was on the freshman football team at Northrop and has also been described as an avid hunter.
On a website set up by his brother , he said Noah’s injuries “include multiple facial fractures, a broken neck, broken ribs, double pneumothorax (collapsed lungs), and a spinal fracture at his T8 vertebrate that has left him paralyzed from the breast bone down.”
“It’s something that doesn’t usually happen to someone our age, and it’s not something you’d expect to happen on an everyday basis,” said Jordan Dickinson, another friend and teammate of Noah’s.
Likewise, Bloom said, “It shows you that you don’t know what’s going to happen to someone at any time.”
Noah’s friend said the accident made them look at life differently.
“I know a lot of people were regretting some comments they’ve made to him in the past, so it really taught a lot of people that you need to treat everyone nicely,” Bloom said.
The head football coach at Northrop, Tim Martone, has been in contact with the family. He said Noah is making baby steps to recovery. The family is also keeping everyone updated of Noah’s progress through Facebook .
“I talked to dad this morning,” Martone said. “He said nothing good today but nothing worse, so they’re in good spirits.”
As of now, the family doesn’t know when they will be able to bring Noah back to Fort Wayne, but his friends say he’s coming back to wide reaching support.
“He’s in all our prayers,” said Ethan Black, Noah’s friend and teammate. “We’re thinking about him and hopes he gets better.”
Likewise Martone said, “He loves life and you can just tell that when you talk to him, and when he talks to his classmates, and when he talks to me. He just loves being out there, and sure he’s a little goofy at times, but he has a big heart, and it’s going to lead him through this.”
The school will be organizing a few fundraisers for the family to help pay for all of the medical costs.