CARMEL, Ind.– The head coach of the Carmel High School girls basketball team was seriously injured while on vacation with family in the Dominican Republic. Family members said Kevin Sweeney was swimming in the ocean when he got caught in a wave and hit the sea floor.
Since Tuesday, he’s been in the hospital in Punta Cana after breaking two vertebrae and fracturing another.
Relatives vacationing with Sweeney, his wife and five boys, said his injuries require medical transport back to the U.S. They said he is in good spirits but he is unable to get on a commercial flight.
“The insurance may come back and kick in the hospital medical bills in Punta Cana but it will not cover any evacuation,” said Brenda Snyder, a relative.
Snyder said the medevac transport is not cheap. They were originally planning to fly Sweeney to Ft. Lauderdale, which would have cost them $22,000. Now, they are hoping to fly him straight to Indiana so he is home.
“The concern is once he is all stable, how long will he be out of work,” said Snyder.
Sweeney was supposed to start his first year coaching at Carmel High School this fall. He has previously coached girls basketball at Lawrence North High School and Bishop Chatard.
Relatives set up a GoFundMe page for the family. In less than 24 hours, it has raised more than $25,000. If you would like to help the family, click here.
“He coaches for the joy of reaching out to young kids and I don’t know how they would be able to do it without it,” said Greg Parker, Kevin’s uncle.
Parker, other family members, and former athletes of Sweeney are very appreciative of the community’s support. Family also wanted to thank doctors at St. Vincent for all of their guidance and support.
“He has given so much to us. It is our time to give back to them,” said Caroline Dury, former basketball player at Bishop Chatard.
The family said Sweeney does have full movement other than numbness and tingling down his right arm and hand. Snyder said they hope to get him back to Indiana Thursday evening.
“We are thankful to God and to everyone that has been helping,” said Snyder.