Students tip their hats to classmate recovering from head injury

Students at Clear Lake Middle School and High School tipped their caps Tuesday to a fellow student currently homebound as the result of a head injury.

“It was hat’s off and cap’s on for Austin!” exclaimed Middle School Counselor Janelle Ham.  “We wanted to do something to let Austin know we are thinking of 
him and let the family know we support them.”

Austin Hasfjord, an eighth grader at CLMS, has been diagnosed with Persistent Post Concussive Disorder and is currently under treatment by medical staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.   According to Ham, the head injury occurred while Austin was playing football, but was not immediately apparent.  When the symptoms surfaced he was referred to the U of I for treatment.

Austin is now at home, but unable to attend school.

Ham, along with Austin’s friends and teachers, said they wanted to do something to let him know they were thinking of him.  The “cap day,” which asks students to contribute $1 for permission to wear a cap at school for a day, was just one way to help.  Ham noted that when CLHS students Michaela Heck and Aimee Medellin heard of the fundraising idea they asked if they could join in and organized the same effort at the high school.  A bonus of Tuesday’s cap day was the fact that it was scheduled on Austin’s birthday, Ham said.

Students are also being creative in their ways to continue to communicate with Austin, Ham added.  Because he has been advised not to read, and only have very limited TV time, the students have devised audio get well cards and have tapped into technological offerings which can turn their cell phones into radios, allowing them to send text messages audibly for Austin to hear, rather than read.

It is too early to know how soon Austin might be able to return to school, say officials.  It is hoped he can spend up to one period a day in school after the start of the new year.  Until then, Ham and others say they will do all they can to remind the Hasfjords that the Clear Lake community cares.

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