The community of Victoria and beyond are coming together to support Victoria High School senior quarterback Brady Dinkel as he battles pancreas and liver issues following his team’s 16-12 win Friday against visiting Claflin-Central Plains.
Shortly after Friday’s game, Dinkel went to the emergency room at Hays Medical Center with pain in his abdomen. Dinkel was in the ER for a few hours before being sent home, only to return Saturday morning, when he was flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.
How the problems arose are still uncertain at this point.
“The how’s and the why’s really haven’t been answered,” said Doug Oberle, head coach at Victoria. “In talking to Brady personally, (he) had no recollection of any specific hit that he had taken that would’ve caused this. The doctors, even when we were down there at Wesley, … it’s just not something very common. That’s the hard part to swallow from a lot of different angles.”
The problem arose after the defending Eight-Man Division II champions avenged their lone loss in 2014 to Central Plains, the Division I champions. Dinkel’s play on both sides of the ball was instrumental in the victory Friday as he had two interceptions and 89 rushing yards in the defensive tussle.
Senior Joe Dortland will replace Dinkel under center, but Oberle is not asking any more of his players, despite the tragic news of one of the state’s brightest eight-man athletes.
“My message to them was that we know what Brady was to our football team, we know how hard he worked. I don’t need anybody to go out there and try to be Brady Dinkel,” Oberle said.
“We just need everybody to go out and be the best they can be. … We’re gonna go out. We’re gonna do our jobs to the best of our ability. To a certain extent, you hope you let your play stand for how you feel about the young man. Hopefully that represents what kind of kid he is."
Oberle said the uncertainty of the situation is making these days tougher than a routine week of preparation.
“It’s been difficult," Oberle said. "This is a very unusual set of circumstances. We’ve dealt with injuries in the past, but we’ve never really had to deal with anything quite like this. To not know exactly why or how this happened and for him to be in the kind of condition he’s in, it’s tough. It’s tough for old people like me to wrap their heads around, and then it’s tough for 16- and 17-year-old kids to understand fully what’s going on.”
Dinkel’s mother, Shanna, released a statement to The Hays Daily News on behalf of the family Wednesday.
“The outpouring of support from family, the Victoria coaches and players, friends, colleagues, the Victoria community, the surrounding communities, and from opponents throughout the state has been incredible,” Shanna said. “It has obviously been an emotional time, but the generosity and sincere compassion shown to our family has given and will continue to give us the strength we need. Words cannot express our gratitude; we are truly humbled by the whole experience. Brady has been amazing through it all. He is a tough kid and we couldn’t be more proud of the strides he’s making. We hope to have him home and on the sidelines soon to help cheer on the Knights!”
Oberle also wanted to thank everyone for the outcry of support as the 1-0 Knights prepare for a road battle at Ellinwood on Friday.
“The support’s been great, even from outlying head coaches calling. … The community support’s been outstanding,” Oberle said. “(The Dinkels are) a great family, and I know they’ve had a great amount of support as well. (It’s) very humbling for the family, I’m sure, as well as myself and the team to see the response that we’ve seen.
“It’s just very gratifying to know that there’s a lot of good people out there and a lot of people that do great things. We’re in a tough spot, but we’re definitely looking for a positive outcome and a good outcome.”