April 6, 2018.
It’s a day that still haunts thousands of people across Canada when they think about the 16 lives lost, and the 13 others still dealing with injuries, after the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a tractor trailer on the way to a playoff game in Nipawin.
Kaleb Dahlgren is one of those survivors, and he’s still dealing with physical injuries. His head is still swollen a full hat size larger than it was before the bus crash, but it seems minor compared to the traumatic brain injury, fractured neck, back, and skull, as well as nerve damage he suffered in the crash.
Despite everything he’s gone through, Dahlgren continues on and perseveres. This year, he is set to graduate from York University with a business commerce degree, is hopeful to head to chiropractic school, and has now published his first book, Crossroads. The book details his life before, during and after his one season with the Broncos.
Dahlgren said telling his story about that tragic accident allows him to try and make it something positive.
“For me, it’s also helped me heal too,” Dahlgren said. “I think that I’m able to share some of the ways that I deal with the situation, but also some perspective and mind set.”
“In the end of it all, it really helps me giving back and helping others. I think the human connection is so powerful and when I give back to others, it fuels my soul,” he added.
When it comes to the book itself, Dahlgren says he was against writing it until a class he was enrolled in at York in 2019.
“I was sitting in class, and my professor said ‘if you want to make a difference in the world, it starts with you,’ and it was something so simple but so true,” Dahlgren said. “I’ve always wanted to make a difference in this world, and at the time, I was really grappling with the idea that my story could help others, and I only wanted to write the book if I knew I’d be able to help others.”
According to Dahlgren, the main pillars of the book are hope, resilience and family.
“Family is more than just the immediate people in my life,” Dahlgren said. “My teammates, my coaches, it’s all of these people in my life I always considered family, but now looking back, they were even that much more family to me.”
Crossroads is now available at bookstores across the province. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to STARS Air Ambulance, an organization Dahlgren said he never even heard of until after the bus crash.
Crossroads can also be ordered here.