Gophers wrestlers visit South Dakota boy badly burned in accident


Tyler Schultz is kid who loves wrestling. The 8-year-old loves it so much, he's already been involved with the sport for the last four years.

But the Redfield, South Dakota, native was the victim of a terrible accident on May 1, WCCO reports, as he caught on fire when diesel fuel ignited near him while playing at a friend's house. He suffered third-degree burns on more than a third of his body.

Lucky to be alive, Schultz was sent to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment, but for the last week he has been away from home, most of his family, friends, teammates and wrestling – but he had some extra company this past Monday.

To raise his spirits while he was in Minneapolis, members of the Gophers wrestling team dropped in on the youngster to give him extra encouragement as he continues his challenging recovery, according to a HCMC blog posting.

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"I know that the mental aspect of recovering is huge," Gophers wrestler Josh Shupe told WCCO. "I know he's got great doctors and stuff working right now, but if we can be here to help that mental and emotional part, it's going to go a long way."

Shupe and his Gophers teammates Sam Brancale, Zane Zeman and Nate Thomas also brought Schultz a poster that was signed by the entire Gophers wrestling team.

While Schultz is recovering he still has a long way to go. According to a GoFundMe site, he has started walking on his own.

A few friends started the site, which has raised more than $14,000, because Schultz's parents have been with him at the hospital and have been unable to work.

"He’s such a strong kid and he’s made remarkable progress," nurse Angie Whitley said in the HCMC blog. "Having these wrestlers take time out of their busy schedules to stop by and visit Tyler is so very much appreciated – and I think they enjoyed it, too! Encouragement and hope is a vital part of the healing process for patients recovering from burns."

Tyler – who currently wrestles at 50 pounds – will return to his hometown in South Dakota in a few weeks, where he will continue his therapy.

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