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WEST JORDAN — The season is over, but members of the Copper Hills High School wrestling team have been drawn closer together as they raise money to support teammate Chance Sackett.
Chance was accidentally shot in the neck Saturday by his father, who was cleaning a handgun.
Wrestlers turned in their wrestling singlets Thursday and spent lunch time collecting donations from students to help pay for the 15-year-old's medical expenses. In one day, Sackett's teammates and friends managed to raise more than $1,000, Principal Todd Quarnberg said.
"I would never wish this on any parent," Chance's father, Bret Sackett, said Thursday. "The good thing is he's still alive."
Sackett was preparing to put away a handgun after a day of shooting when it accidentally discharged in a bedroom of the family home and hit his son in the neck. Chance remained conscious and was able to talk to paramedics as he was transported to a hospital on a medical helicopter.
Police described the event as "a horrible accident."
Sackett said he feels a lot of guilt about the shooting, but he is grateful for the support of his family, friends and members of his LDS ward.
"This is something I look at that happens to someone else, not me," he said. "I've been around guns for a long time, and I constantly push safety whenever (my sons or I are) holding the guns."
Chance remained hospitalized Thursday at Primary Children's Medical Center.
Sackett said his son is making daily progress and can move his arms, fingers and legs, although not without pain. Doctors have said they don't think any of the injuries will be permanent.
"He's a great kid," his father said. "Right now, he's going to need to dig deeper than he ever has before."
But Sackett looks at how hard his son pushed himself while on the wrestling team, and said he knows his son can make it through his recovery.
"Chance is dedicated for sure," wrestling coach Jeff Humpherys said. "He came in as a newbie and didn't know a lot about wrestling. He's gotten a lot better."
Humphreys said Chance never missed a day of practice and he never complained.
Teammates and friends said they try to visit the sophomore as much as they can and are hopeful about his recovery.
"He's starting to use his arms and he has some feeling in his legs," said friend David Walker, 17. "We're still hoping and praying he'll be able to get feeling back in his legs."
Students will continue to collect donations until Tuesday. An account has also been opened under Chance Sackett's name at Wells Fargo for anyone interested in contributing.
Contributing: Peter Samore