WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — As two former Dowling Catholic High School graduates were in hospital beds suffering from injuries in a Lake of the Ozarks jet ski crash, family and friends in Iowa could only wait.
“It’s devastating when you get that kind of news,” Dowling Athletic Director Tom Wilson said.
A crash report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol says Jack Koerner, a University of Iowa football player and fellow University of Iowa student Cole Coffin, were on a jet ski Friday when they collided with a boat, sending both class of 2017 Dowling grads to the hospital.
Wilson said, “It hits close to home and I think it did that for a lot of people in our community.”
Koerner’s injuries were severe but not life threatening. Coffin, who played basketball and baseball at Dowling, was forced to undergo a life-saving leg amputation at the University of Missouri Hospital. “You are looking at two families that mean an awful lot to a lot of us and those are two terrific kids,” said Wilson.
Feeling helpless and over 300 miles away, friends and family in Iowa took to what they know best, the power of prayer. “They set up a Rosary on Saturday night at St. Francis and there were a hundred plus there and last night at Sacred Heart there were many there. It was very powerful,” Wilson said.
Cole’s mother, Mary, has been keeping family and friends back home updated by posting to the CaringBridge website. “Cole is one of the strongest and most positive kids I know. He is a fighter and he will pull through stronger than ever. He got his stubbornness from me and I must say I am thrilled he did!” Mary said.
Wilson added, “He’s a positive young man and always has had a bright outlook on things.”
Due to COVID-19, the family can rarely see Cole in the hospital, but late Sunday afternoon Mary posted that Cole had no infection from the lake water and had a successful surgery to repair tissue and stitch nerves to muscles. She also posted a picture of the Coffin and Koerner families with Jack at the hospital as Jack was released to go home. “Nobody is going to be there more to support Cole Coffin any more than Jack Koerner will,” said Wilson.
The Coffin family has posted that Cole is recovering and in stable condition.