Western Slope communities rally behind injured football player from Grand Valley
Communities throughout the Western Slope have rallied around the Schaeffer family in recent days after Grand Valley senior football player Cayden Schaeffer was seriously injured Friday, Oct. 4 in the fourth quarter against Meeker. Schaeffer was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital with a serious head injury and is still under the care of the St. Mary’s staff.
On Saturday, the Rifle Bears’ girls softball team wore #23 stickers on their batting helmets to support Schaeffer, while the Rifle-Glenwood Springs volleyball game Tuesday night in Rifle was dedicated to Schaeffer and his family.
Prior to that, Grand Valley High School held a prayer circle Tuesday morning at 6:40 a.m. around the flag pole, which was the first day of school following Schaeffer’s injury.
“The community has just really responded well,” Tim Lenard, Grand Valley’s head football coach said. “We have a lot of things going on right now. We’ve prayed as a group a couple of different times for Cayden.
Roughly 150 people showed up for Tuesday morning’s prayer. There’s just been a lot of people reaching out within the community, offering support. We’ve had numerous football teams, not only on the Western Slope, but throughout the state and in other states that have reached out offering support for this young man.”
According to the school, standard procedures were followed, and medical assistance was provided to Schaeffer promptly on the sideline.
“The family has communicated daily with us, giving us a morning and evening update,” Dave Walck, Grand Valley’s athletic director said.
“There’s been progress in his recovery; with these types of injuries there’s not a lot there right now. Time is the big issue. Right now, the family sends out statements that they’re genuinely appreciative of the support. This community is trying to come together and help people. Both parents grew up in the valley and have strong ties, so the support throughout the valley has been tremendous.”
Additionally, Walck said that Meeker High School has called the school every day since the incident checking in on the Schaeffer family and seeing if they can do anything to offer support.
Garfield 16 has convened a group to come up with ways to provide support moving forward, while the school system has offered up counseling support for students and staff at this time. The Schaeffer family has four children in the school system.
Columbine Ford has provided a truck to the school that has #SchaefferStrong plastered across it, while the Colorado High School Activities has approved minor adjustments to the Cardinals’ jerseys, allowing Grand Valley to wear #23 stickers.
On Thursday, students at the high school dressed up in red, white and blue with the American flag in support of their very patriotic classmate during Homecoming Week.
The school also plans on selling #SchaefferStrong T-shirts with proceeds donated to an unidentified cause moving forward. Updates on Schaeffer’s health can be found through Grand Valley’s football page on Facebook.
“We just want to make it known as much as possible that our kids and this wonderful community supports Cayden and the Schaeffer family,” Walck said.