Minnehaha soccer coach has leg amputated after school explosion

Bryan Duffey was in a critical condition, but is now recovering.

The Minnehaha Academy staff member recovering in the hospital following last week's gas explosion lost a leg in the blast.

Journal updates on a CaringBridge page by Bryan Duffey's wife, Jamie, have revealed that the severity of the injuries to the custodian and assistant soccer coach meant his right leg needed to be amputated.

"As of right now his leg was amputated at the knee and we hope that they will only have to take a little bit more leaving him with amputation just above the knee," Jamie Duffey-Jeltema shared on Facebook earlier this week. "Bryan is strong and healthy though and will be walking and playing soccer again with a prosthetic in no time!"

Fortunately, doctors were able to save the 26-year-old's left leg after relieving swelling and pressure, though according to a post on Saturday he will need a "nail" inserted from his knee down to his ankle.

A journal update on Tuesday evening reveals the family had a "scare" the night when Duffey wasn't moving his legs after a surgery. But after neck and spine injuries were ruled out, he eventually started moving them again.

Surgeons have been able to close up his amputated leg, and he is expected to undergo "one more major surgery" on Wednesday, which will be a skin graft from his thigh to his left leg.

"Today Bryan has had ups and down with knowing whats going on and whats not going on," Jamie Duffey-Jeltema wrote on Tuesday. "He did recognize all his visitors though."

"I think the most exciting thing today was that just a little bit ago He lifted his right arm up all the way off of the bed several times! More answered prayers!"

His wife said "one of the hardest parts" was telling him what had happened, and explaining his injuries to him.

Two died in explosion

Two of Duffey's co-workers, receptionist Ruth Berg and fellow custodian John Carlson, lost their lives in the explosion.

A GoFundMe memorial account set up for the Berg and Carlson families was set up in the aftermath of the explosion, and has so far raised just short of $5,000.

KARE 11 reports that a memorial service was held for 81-year-old Carlson, who himself graduated from the academy in 1953, at the school's campus on Sunday.

He took a job at the school as a custodian after retiring as a bus driver, with former Principal Dean Erickson telling the service: "He was so excited about the start of the school year. He was shining up the desks and making sure they were in perfect rows. It really meant a lot to him." 

Meanwhile on Monday, the school brought in therapy dogs to help some of its summer camp students deal with last week's shocking events.

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