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February 26, 2014

Tragedy at Elmwood-Murdock

With district basketball underway we are surrounded by fun and games which seem awfully important, and they are, in good measure.

What happened yesterday just outside of Elmwood makes you realize it's not that important after all.

The following is an e-mail from Elmwood-Murdock superintendent of schools Dan Novak explaining the aftermath of truck/train accident which claimed the life of John P. Bruns, father of Elmwood-Murdock basketball starter Tyler Bruns. The events which followed included a basketball game, basketball players and even fans but proved to be about much more than sport, or a final score.

I received this e-mail, asked permission of both Mr. Novak and the Bruns family and they agreed to share it with you...

Yesterday, was a very difficult day for the Elmwood-Murdock Public Schools as we received word during the morning that the father of one of our senior starters on the basketball team was killed in a train/truck accident in northern Otoe County.

The fact that this happened during the day and on the day of one of culminating events of the basketball season added difficulty to this day. After receiving encouragement from the impacted family to move forward with our participation in the contest, I contacted both the Raymond Central and Yutan Public Schools to inform them of the situation.

I asked Raymond Central if they could provide us a room in case we had students or fans that needed to leave the contest due to emotions related to death of the parent and the nature of the activity. When we arrived at Raymond Central we were meet by the principal and a member of his staff, Mr. Rasmussen, who went beyond what you would expect in making every arrangement we asked for possible. They went out of their way to help us and to make us feel comfortable.

During the game we had a player who suffered a severe cut to the eye and both the principal and Mr. Rasmussen assisted us in helping to address the medical needs of the student. After the game, they provided a place for our students, players and parents to meet in private.

During the game the Yutan students, fans, coaches and team members demonstrated what a class act they are. The coaching staff were so considerate of our situation and truly were sympathetic toward our situation. During the game, both teams played hard and with the greatest of respect and sportsmanship toward each other.

As the game came to a close and our players came out of the game the fans and students representing both schools applauded the efforts of our players demonstrating an appreciation and understanding for the difficult situation our players had played through.

At the end of the game, our team and students were joined by students and members of the Yutan basketball team for a moment of spontaneous reflection at the mid-court.

This evening heightened my appreciation for the role of high school activities in the role of education and life. This experience was the beginning of our working through a very difficult time. The power of team, competition and mutual respect were once again demonstrated as a few of the great strengths of high school activities.

I have been an coach and athletic director for over 30 years and last night once again reinforced why I have remained so actively involved and supportive of high school activities. I want to thank Raymond Central for being a great host and Yutan for being a great opponent.

Out of tragedy something very good occurred last night.

Thanks - Dan Novak

Nebraska NEWS


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