Humboldt Broncos bus crash survivor Layne Matechuk suffered brain injury

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The family of Layne Matechuk, who survived the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, said Friday he has suffered a brain injury and the journey ahead will not be easy.

The tragic collision between the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team’s bus and a semi-trailer on April 6 claimed the lives of 16 players and staff on their way to a playoff game. Thirteen others were injured.

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The injured 18-year-old spent the first month in a coma and is now awake and making steady progress in hospital. He has not yet been able to speak.

“However, each day, he gets a little stronger and we are getting signs from him about what he is thinking,” read a statement released on behalf of the family.

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“He doesn’t appear to know what has happened. And while we see his frustration, we also see his determination.”

“Layne has always had to work hard to achieve his success. While growing up, as other kids played after school, he would be at the rink working towards his dream of playing hockey. It was all he ever wanted to do. And for a while, he lived that dream.”

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Layne, originally from Colonsay, Sask., was in his first season with the junior ‘A’ hockey team as a defenceman when the tragedy struck.

The family thanked the doctors and staff at Royal University Hospital who brought him to this point in his recovery.

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Layne was transferred to Saskatoon City Hospital this week to begin the next step in his rehabilitation.

“We wish we could tell you it is getting easier. The reality is – it’s not,” read the statement.

“At this point, we are not sure when Layne will get to leave hospital. But, what we can tell you is that we believe he gets a little closer every day.”

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The family said they are holding onto the word “believe,” which was inspired by one of Layne’s coaches. The coach told the players that they had to believe in order to accomplish something.

“We #believe the strength and determination that brought Layne success on the ice will bring him success in the months and years ahead,” read the statement.

“We ask that you continue to send your prayers and support to him – and to think of him.”

“And most of all, we ask that you #believe with him and us.”

He is a former member of the Prince Albert Mintos of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.