Fundraisers scheduled for injured LSHS student
Borowicz suffered fractured vertebra, spinal cord damage diving into pool
A football team, a school and a community are mobilizing behind a Lakeville South High School student who is undergoing rehabilitation after injuring his neck in a diving accident less than three weeks ago.
Dillon Borowicz, who will be a senior at LSHS in the fall, was injured when he dove into a pool at his home July 15. On his CaringBridge.org site, his family wrote that he fractured the front and back of his C5 vertebra, causing bruising and swelling of his spinal cord and resulting in paralysis.
He has since regained some movement in his arms and upper body, is breathing on his own and is able to sit up for periods of time. On Monday, he was transferred from Hennepin County Medical Center to the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. He is wearing a halo brace but is not expected to need surgery to stabilize his spinal column, said Natalie Breitung, who is coordinating fundraising efforts for the Borowicz family.
Lakeville South football coach Larry Thompson, who has visited Borowicz in the hospital several times, said it’s his understanding that Borowicz’s injury is similar to one suffered by Benilde-St. Margaret’s boys hockey player Jack Jablonski in December 2011. Jablonski had fractured vertebrae and a damaged spinal cord after being checked into the boards during a game. Doctors initially expressed doubt that Jablonski would walk again, but the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported last week he is walking on a treadmill with assistance from therapists as part of his rehabilitation.
The day before his injury, Borowicz took part in a football camp at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Thompson said Borowicz was a candidate to start on the Lakeville South defensive line this fall.
“He was at the Linemen’s Challenge at Wisconsin-Stout, flipping tires, pushing the sled,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if he missed a day of our off-season program, and when he was there he always had a smile on his face. That’s what makes this so hard.”
On one of his visits, Thompson said Borowicz wanted to show him how much progress he had made by raising one arm, then the other, then both at the same time before slumping back into his seat, exhausted.
“I told him, ‘Dillon, you’re a fighter and a battler.’ And he said, ‘I love you, coach.’ It was just heart-wrenching, but at the same time, really uplifting.”
Borowicz also is a lacrosse player at Lakeville South. Thompson said he hopes Borowicz can be on the Lakeville South football sideline at some point this fall. Lakeville South players also will wear his number (74) somewhere on their helmets or jerseys.
Meanwhile, several events have been arranged to raise money for the Borowicz family. A fund also has been established at the Anchor Bank branch in Lakeville.
Breitung, a longtime family friend of the Borowiczs, said the goal is to have a fund ready for whatever expenses turn up during Dillon’s rehabilitation. For instance, “we don’t know yet if the family will need a van,” she said.
A motorcycle/vehicle ride has been scheduled for Aug. 18, starting and ending at the Red Fox Tavern in Lakeville, where Borowicz worked. Fundraisers also will be held Sept. 19 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lakeville and Oct. 14 at the Red Fox Tavern. A Mass on Borowicz’s behalf also will take place Aug. 31 at All Saints Catholic Church in Lakeville.
The football team is selling T-shirts to raise money for the family, and Thompson said the program is planning to donate some of the proceeds from its annual summer youth football camp.
More information about the fundraising events is available at dillonborowicz.com.