Local Sports

Shelbyville's Badgley continues recovery following serious accident

Damon Badgley was working out in the Golden Bear weight room the Monday after Shelbyville’s two-point-loss to Whiteland in the semifinals of this year’s Columbus North sectional basketball tournament. The Shelbyville sophomore was heartened by his inaugural varsity season and the team’s consistent improvement throughout the year.

He was intent on wasting no time in preparing for his junior season.

Badgley’s early postseason workout plans were curtailed two days later, on March 8, when he was involved in a traumatic auto accident while driving to school on State road 44.

“A car passing a vehicle from the opposite direction forced me off the road and my truck rolled over a few times,” related Badgley. “The truck was demolished, but I was able to get out and walk. Two people stopped to help me but we knew it was bad. You could see the bone through a hole in my arm. The responders got there very fast but I knew I had severe injuries.”

The wreck left Badgley with a badly broken left elbow. He was immediately transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for evaluation and treatment. Tests revealed minor pelvic and leg fractures but significant damage to the elbow. Later that day, doctors stitched back and reconnected muscles and tendons in the arm.



“The doctors’ main concern was that the accident severed the muscles that control mobility in the wrist and they had to reattach those,” said Damon’s father, Gary. “They would have to graft a muscle from another part of his body if the reattachment was unsuccessful.”

Fortunately, Damon did not suffer any concussion or head injuries. The major concern was the elbow.

Early results of the surgery were encouraging. He was quickly able to move his wrist and fingers so there would be no need for additional surgery. He has continued to make steady progress and recently began physical therapy.

Badgley will continue therapy sessions two to three times per week for the next few weeks.

“The physical therapy will work on my range of motion,” he said. “Right now, the arm is stiff so I need to work on extending and improving my range of motion.”   

“Basketball notwithstanding, Damon is an exceptional young man,” stated Shelbyville head coach John Hartnett Jr. “Our primary concern is to get him healthy. He is someone who cares about others and demonstrates that.  A serious accident like this affects family, friends, coaches, teachers and teammates. We are very pleased that he is recovering so well.”

Badgley had to contend with a couple of other injuries over the course of the past year as well. He hyperextended his right knee on the final day of 2022 summer practice and had to wear a brace for three weeks. He also chipped a bone in his left hand and played with some minor pain for the last month of the basketball season.   



He enjoyed a strong sophomore season for the Golden Bears, starting numerous games and seeing extensive playing time. He was the team’s third-leading scorer averaging 8.5 points per game and connected on 27 3-point field goals. He hit a 3-point shot with eight seconds remaining to secure a Shelbyville victory at Pendleton Heights and nailed another critical trey in overtime versus East Central in the opening sectional contest to give Shelbyville a lead they would not relinquish.

“Damon developed into one of our primary players and became one of our main scorers,” said Hartnett. “He also became an important rebounder for us. He is very committed to basketball and that paid dividends this year. He showed remarkable growth and improvement throughout the year. We are very excited about his basketball future.”

Badgley is quick to thank his coaches and teammates for being very supportive during this ordeal.

“Everyone got in contact with me and my family from the day of the accident on,” said Badgley. “The basketball coaching staff always goes above and beyond to make us a better team and they did the same for me after the accident. Coach Hartnett has been in touch since this happened. He sent me a gift basket from the team while I was still in the hospital and is always checking on my recovery. My teammates have been there for me as well. I am so very thankful for all of them.”

Nearly one month after the accident, Badgley understands that he still has significant healing to do: both physically and emotionally.

“I get stronger every day, but I want to make sure I recover completely,” said Damon. “This whole thing really made me pause and realize how fortunate I am to have a great family and people around me who truly care.”

He has his sights set on resuming practicing and working out within a month, always of course following medical advice and direction. “Playing basketball is something I have loved doing since I was very young,” he said. “I look forward to being back at it more determined than ever very soon.” 

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