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West Jordan • With one of their classmates in intensive care at Primary Children's Medical Center, students at Copper Hills High School dug into their pockets Thursday to show their support even with just a dollar or two.
On Saturday, sophomore Chance Sackett was accidentally shot in the neck by his father, Bret Sackett, who was putting away a gun after the two had been target-shooting.
"He's in our prayers right now. And we just hope he gets better," said Morgan Turner, a sophomore who is on the wrestling team with Chance. Morgan and another teammate gathered $350 for Chance's medical bills. Other donations had not been tallied Thursday afternoon.
"He's a fighter, so I think he'll get better," Morgan said.
This isn't the first time Copper Hills students have grappled with tragic circumstances. In the past 13 months, five students have died from causes ranging from car accidents to alcohol poisoning, said principal Todd Quarnberg. Two others have suffered serious injuries.
Earlier this month, a male student, attempting to climb from the passenger window to the bed of a moving pickup, fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Another boy suffered a similar injury in November when he fell from a second-story railing inside the school as he attempted a handstand on the railing. Neither has returned to school.
"The school is reacting [to Sackett's accident] just like they always do with tragedies. Because we've had so many, they rally," Quarnberg said. "There's no time for us to wonder how or what we're going to do. We already know what we need to do to support one of our family members."
On Thursday, Bret Sackett visited the school and expressed gratitude for the support his family has received from students, neighbors, families and friends. Chance has been in the intensive care unit since the accident. The bullet dislodged one of his vertebrae and caused swelling in his spinal cord.
He has started physical therapy, but he's been unable to move his toes or legs. He also has limited movement in his hands and arms. But the family hopes more movement will return as the swelling goes down.
Sackett said he has felt "a lot of guilt" since the accident, but it happened "that quick" even though he has always emphasized gun safety with his kids.
"It was a bad accident. I would never wish this on any parent. The good thing is that he's still alive," an emotional Sackett said. "What a brave young man he is. … He's going to have to dig deeper than he ever has before."
How to help
Donations for Chance Sackett's medical care can be made to a Wells Fargo account in his name or to Copper Hills High.