High School Copes With Two Tragedies in One Week

A Spotsylvania County high school community is dealing with two tragedies in just one week's time.

Family and friends of Ryan McCall gathered Thursday night for the 16-year-old's viewing. The Riverbend High School sophomore was killed Sunday in a single-engine plane crash.

Just two days later, sophomore Jake Gallello took a devastating hit on the soccer field and was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.

“In soccer you just don’t hear of something like this drastic happening," said Michelle Schwarzmann, mother of a Riverbend student.

On Twitter, students and parents are using #JakeStrong and #PrayForJake.

“One of those kids you’re fortunate enough that he has a lot of skill, he has a lot of heart and he just plays," said Robert Stack, varsity soccer coach at Riverbend.

Stack watched Tuesday as the devastating accident played out on the field. Jake took a hit and was knocked unconscious.

Jake’s mom told News4 that he’s making progress. He suffered a burst vessel on his brain stem and a serious concussion.

The community is crediting his mom for bringing an uplifting spirit.

“It’s definitely been a tough week for our kids and our faculty. It’s one you wouldn’t want to go through again," said Dr. Troy Wright, principal of Riverbend High.

Meanwhile, the funeral for Jake's friend Ryan is set for Friday.

“What’s been great is the way the kids have responded and kind of rallied around it. It shows the kind of character of kid we have here," said Tim Stimmell, Riverbend HIgh School's athletic director.

He along with many of the parents are looking for forward to next week's spring break as a time of peace and family reflection.

Investigators are still working to determine a cause of Ryan's plane crash near Orange County Airport.

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