New Underwood surrounds teen with support after car accident
On Feb. 18, Taylor Grill’s car collided with a semi on icy roads in New Underwood, South Dakota. Her brother Cade, who was a passenger in the car, was able to call their parents, informing them of what happened and letting them know he was ok, with injuries that were addressed later. He couldn’t say the same for his sister. A passerby stopped to help the teens and stay with Taylor, since she remained conscious throughout and after the collision.
“That meant a lot to us,” said Taylor’s dad Jeff Grill. “The person who stopped has children, and he stayed there; I’m sure it was a tough deal. We drove to them, and you would think that trip took hours.” It was about 15 miles away, though road conditions were poor.
Jeff and Diana’s then 16-year-old daughter—her 17th birthday was celebrated in the hospital—was immediately flown to Denver, where she has been the past several weeks, receiving surgery, physical therapy, and occupational therapy for her injuries, bones broken in each leg and a severely damaged left arm that required amputation. A rod was placed in her left femur, allowing it to be weight bearing, however her right leg requires more extensive surgery, thus a longer recovery as well.
While she is faced with a large hurdle in life, Taylor has been relatively unfazed by the challenge and instead focuses on goals she places in front of herself. The first of which is to attend New Underwood’s High School Prom.
Slated to be released from the hospital at the beginning of next week, if all continues to go well, Taylor will likely not be entirely weight bearing upon leaving. The family is in search of a wheelchair-accessible home to temporarily occupy in New Underwood since their own home has multiple levels.
Once Taylor can support herself on both legs, she plans to walk and run again, building strength back up so she can return to her favorite sport, volleyball.
“I guarantee once they give her a date that she can stand again, she’ll be up at 12 a.m. that day,” Jeff said.
Two of her cousins have played on the volleyball team at Black Hills State University, one of whom is still playing; the other graduated. Both told Taylor they would help her figure out a way to play again before the start of season in August.
“She has not worried one bit about how she’s going to do this,” Jeff said. “I’m sure it crosses her mind, and she’s going to have to deal with things differently, but she’s very confident this is just a bump in the road and not a washout.”
Her family and communities, including their new town of New Underwood, her grandparent’s town of Hot Springs, and their former town up until August 2019, Edgemont, have rallied hard for the family, offering support however folks can.
“I’m blown away by everybody, and that’s the biggest understatement,” Jeff said. “All the years you spend in the wrestling family circles in South Dakota, the rodeo family, the ag sector, those we see in cattle dealings, lots and lots of people you don’t know that well offer support.”
Each evening, Jeff said, Taylor’s friends in New Underwood get in a group chat, offering Taylor a link to her regular life. The support keeps pushing Taylor and keeps her spirits up, even though she’s restless from her restrictions.
One of her greatest support pillars throughout her ordeal and likely in the future is her grandpa Bruce Grill. Grandpa Bruce lost his left arm in a baler accident when he was in his 30s. Not much slows him down and he’s capable of doing anything he desires, though it sometimes takes a bit more creativity.
“Taylor has already said, “I think Grandpa and I are going to spend a lot more time together,” Jeff said. “I kind of went through some of this stuff, but not as a parent, helping make decisions. My dad always had a way to do things; there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. I think she’s seeing that.”
The Hill City and Hot Springs fans competed to raise the most funds for the Grill family at a basketball game recently, which has been a common occurrence since the accident. Belle Fourche, Jones County, Philip, Dupree, Stanley County, and Kadoka have done the same, garnering funds at games.
“It’s something when you go in and watch two ball teams go in and just kick each other in the teeth to win, and, the minute it’s over, they’re in a big circle saying a prayer,” Jeff said. “It’s like the whole part of this country is giving each other a big hug.”
Taylor noted that she knows these funds aren’t generally coming from people with excess, but rather folks who give what they are able. Often, Jeff said, “these people have plans for their money, and they just put those plans on hold to help us. I don’t know how I can ever thank these people. I just hope they all know.”
If you wish to help the Grill family, donations may be sent to First Interstate Bank, Taylor Grill Fund, or via GoFundMe by searching Pray for Tay.