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Home Sports Five Freshmen Concordia Football Players Involved in Rollover Crash

Photo caption: Freshmen Preston Schnitzler, Ryan Durdon, Robert Ferguson, Dylan McKee and Grant Ritter. Photo courtesy of Concordia’s athletic department.


by Benjamin Middendorf and Abigail Wisniewski


Two Concordia students are still hospitalized in intensive care after five freshmen who are members of the Concordia University, Nebraska football team were involved in a rollover car crash on a gravel road 2 miles northeast of Surprise, Nebraska, at 11:55 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2.

The five students are Ryan Durdon from Decatur, Texas; Robert Ferguson from Cold Springs, Texas; Dylan McKee from Lone Tree, Colorado; Grant Ritter from Schertz, Texas; and Preston Schnitzler from Kenesaw, Nebraska.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office reported the driver of the vehicle lost control and drove into a ditch, where the vehicle hit a culvert and rolled. The sheriff’s office also said speed was a factor in the accident, but that alcohol was not involved.

McKee, who sustained the most injuries, was flown by EMS helicopter from the scene, and another student later was flown from Columbus Community Hospital to another hospital.

Durdon, Ferguson and Schnitzler were released on the afternoon of Oct. 4.  The sheriff’s office reported on the morning of Oct. 5 that Ritter and McKee are in stable condition.

The university will help the students by providing accommodations and helping them to continue with their education throughout the recovery process, according to Dean of Students Gene Brooks.

“We are extremely thankful for the amazing work of law enforcement and the rescue squads of the community for their incredible response to this accident on Sunday evening,” football coach Vance Winter said. “I am also extremely proud of the leadership our team has shown in supporting these young men and their families. On behalf of the Bulldog football team, the student body and the entire Concordia community, we pray for a speedy and full recovery for these young men and we will be here to support these young men and their families through their recovery.”

The community has responded by offering to house family members of the students. The students have also received visits from teammates, coaches, Concordia President Brian Friedrich, campus nurse Andreea Baker and family members.

“I’m very thankful that they were spared,” Brooks said. “Others have said it’s a miracle where they’re at right now. [I’m] very thankful for that and I just want to continue to keep them in prayer and be supportive of them.”

The accident was not caused by anything that violates Concordia policy, so the students will not receive any reprimands or face any eligibility issues.

Brooks said that this may provide an educational opportunity during freshman orientation to discuss safe driving on gravel roads.

“A lot of students who come here are from a state where you don’t have to drive on gravel roads much,” Brooks said. “That’s never been something we’ve thought about talking about, but now we will.”


This story will be updated as The Sower gets more information about the players’ conditions.

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