Scecina volleyball coach reaches out to player injured in crash

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Collage of two girls, one of left is holding a vollebyall

Josie Jones (left) holds the volleyball signed by members of Scecina’s volleyball team. The Cascade High School volleyball star suffered a head injury in a Sept. 10, 2021, car accident. Betsy Griffin (right), shown in her senior season as a Crusader volleyball player, recovered from a brain injury from a 2006 golf cart accident. Betsy’s father is Scecina volleyball coach Kevin Griffin.

 

Two daughters, two volleyball players: Families share the experience of daughters’ traumatic head injuries, 15 years apart. ‘Both your family and ours have been through that scary first 24 to 48 hours where we prayed for our child.’

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

Scecina alum and current volleyball coach Kevin Griffin still gets choked up when he talks about his daughter’s golf cart accident that occurred in 2006 during a break from a volleyball tournament. His 11-year-old daughter, Betsy, suffered a severe head injury.

“She had surgery to basically take out half her skull” to relieve pressure on her brain, said Griffin.

A second surgery replaced her skull bone. She couldn’t move her left side or speak for the first two weeks and she spent two years in rehab.

“At the hospital one time, she answered the phone, and she couldn’t speak,” he said. “Those things are funny now but not at the time.”

Betsy Griffin has lingering effects of her injury, but she’s living a full life in San Diego. She’s now a 26-year-old registered nurse who was married in early September.

headshot of Coach Griffn

Scecina Volleyball Coach Kevin Griffin

His family’s experience is why Coach Griffin quickly reached out when he heard that Cascade High School volleyball star Josie Jones had suffered a season-ending head injury in a Sept. 10 car accident.

At the scheduled Indiana Crossroads Conference matchup between Scecina and Cascade on Sept. 16, the Crusaders realized Cascade was without Josie, the Cadets’ top player, and learned about her car accident.

“When I told my girls before the game, they solemnly took it in,” said Griffin, “and we decided we’re definitely going to do something for Josie.”

At their next practice, Scecina’s team signed a volleyball and a card for Josie. Griffin, a 1976 graduate of Scecina, added his own letter that expressed wishes for Josie’s recovery and shared his story about his daughter’s head injury.

“Both your family and ours have been through that scary first 24 to 48 hours where we prayed for our child,” he wrote.

“Your daughter’s story really hit home. So sorry she has to go through this. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family – wish her nothing but a speedy recovery.”

Josie’s mother, Jennifer, said the family had been getting a lot of love from people in Hendricks County and the volleyball community when she received Griffin’s letter. She was more than touched by his words.

“I bawled when I got his letter,” she said. “His daughter’s injury was way worse, but to read his story, it’s just like, wow, knowing that he has watched Josie over the years, so he knows her love for volleyball and how she’s played.”

“The love and support we’ve gotten from people, even people we don’t even know, has been incredible. We feel so blessed,” she said.

Griffin didn’t tell people about his letter. Jennifer sent a message to Scecina’s Facebook page, along with a photo of Josie holding the volleyball signed by the Crusaders.

“We had a connection with a traumatic brain injury,” Griffin said. “The main thing I wanted to tell her was about the process (of recovering).”

On Sept. 9, Josie, who recently turned 18, was enjoying her senior season of Cadets volleyball as a 5’ 10” middle blocker and outside hitter. She was considering where she would play in college.

That all changed on Sept. 10. Because she couldn’t find her car keys, she called a friend for a last-minute ride to Cascade’s homecoming football game. Their drive on a country road ended with the car going off the side, striking a concrete pillar.

Josie was life-lined to Methodist Hospital and sedated and intubated for almost 12 hours.

“She had a pulse and that was about it,” Jennifer said. “She’s really lucky.”

Josie had suffered a severe concussion and broke her orbital eye socket but had no brain bleeding. She had surgery to repair fractures in her face.

“She didn’t talk for four to five days after they brought her out of sedation,” said Jennifer. “She was really beaten up.  They thought she was going to lose her right eye. They really did an amazing job.”

On Sept. 28, she had another surgery to insert a plate that will hold up her right eye.

Josie recently returned to school for half-days as she’s experiencing cognitive and memory issues, her mother said. “I think she’s finally realizing her delayed process.”

Griffin wants Josie’s family to know there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Betsy, a 2013 Scecina graduate and former volleyball player, is proof.

“She’s doing great now, even though she still has some reminders of the accident,” including a loss of feeling in her left side, and a scar from her ear to back of her head, which is not noticeable, Griffin said.

“She has a slightly crooked smile, which we now think is adorable.”

Josie is “a beautiful girl, an incredible athlete,” said her mother. “This whole series of the events that happened, I just think that God has a plan. I believe God has a plan for her life.

“I keep thinking, what is the blessing that’s going to come from this?”

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