Ottawa West football player in critical condition after Tuesday accident

TWP PARK. — Community members are stepping up to support a local high school athlete after a serious car accident this week.

West Ottawa High School junior Sam Smalldon, a wide receiver for the varsity football team, was the driver in a single-car accident on Tuesday, September 6. He remains in hospital after sustaining several serious injuries.

A GoFundMe page set up to help the family has received thousands of dollars in donations.

Smalldon, 16, was driving west on Riley Street near 160th Avenue around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday when the crash occurred. His car veered off the road and hit several trees, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said. He was found unconscious at the scene.

After:Dutch teenager in critical condition after crash in Park Township

Smalldon was taken by ambulance to Zeeland Community Hospital and then flown by AeroMed to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, according to GoFundMe. He suffered two brain hemorrhages, multiple skull fractures, bruises to his lungs and broken ribs.

Sam remains in stable but critical condition in intensive care.

“Sam is such a nice, sweet kid,” the fundraiser read. “He is heavily involved in Ottawa West college football as a wide receiver. He loves spending time with his friends and playing ball at the beach. He loves working for his older brother Drew at the Freedom Boat Club, and he spent most of his summer there. Sam is loved by so many and he has the most amazing support system.

A screenshot of the GoFundMe page raising money for the family of Sam Smalldon, a west-end Ottawa junior involved in a serious car accident on September 6, 2022.

The GoFundMe, accessible at bit.ly/3TVnAOB, raised $15,351 in donations Friday morning, with a goal of $17,000. Sam’s mother, Jill Smalldon, wrote “there are angels among us” and that she is “eternally grateful for my amazing selfless village”.

The accident investigation revealed that Smalldon was traveling at a “very high speed” without a seatbelt, according to an update from Jill’s fundraiser.

She said these are unusual actions for her son, but knows teenagers often make similar mistakes.

“Anyway, it was a very bad choice on his part,” she wrote. “Let this be a lesson to all the teenagers who think you’re invincible. You’re not.”

West Ottawa Football posted a message of support for Sam on Twitter on Wednesday.

“It was an emotional day for the WO football family,” the post read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Sam and his family as he begins his journey to recovery. Please consider donating to help in any way. The WO family is behind you.

— Contact journalist Mitchell Boatman at mboatman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.

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