A quick-thinking basketball coach saved everyone from what was nearly a terrible bus accident as their team traveled home from a tournament this week.
The University of Dubuque (Iowa) women’s basketball team was driving back from a tournament in Nashville, Tennessee when a loud noise jolted everyone awake.
The bus driver had passed out while the bus was going 70 mph down the interstate, causing it to impact the guardrail on the side of the road.
Dubuque assistant coach, Justin Smith, was sitting near the front of the bus and immediately leapt into action, hitting the brakes and stopping the bus.
“I’ve been a high school coach and had a lot of late nights on yellow school buses,” said Smith. “For some reason, I always had in the back of my mind, ‘What if the bus driver fell asleep?’ It’s a fight or flight mechanism and 99% of the people would have done the exact same thing.”
Once the bus came to a stop, Smith and the other coaches moved the bus out of harm’s way as it was still on the highway and could be hit from behind.
“We didn’t feel safe where it was at and we had the girls move up to the front of the bus,” he said. “I sprinted about 100 yards behind the bus to get traffic away from it and make sure there were no other accidents.”
Emergency personnel soon arrived on scene and the now conscious driver was taken to a nearby hospital.
“We were amazed by those guardrails and that’s what we were running over,” said head coach Mark Noll. “We ran over a bunch of them. The bus had its fair share of damage, not the point you’d think it would have.”
“But if those things weren’t there we would have been going into oncoming traffic, and we would be having a very different conversation right now,” Noll continued.
Most of the players were in the back of the bus and did not realize what happened at first. Many of them thought they hit a deer or something like that.
“The girls didn’t recognize the severity of it right away,” Smith said. “When you’re 18, 19, 20 years old you feel invincible.”
“It does put things in perspective big time,” said Noll. “We’re playing a game and trying to achieve great things as a team and the adversity of what we went through yesterday makes us come that much closer together.”
In other news, can you guess what letter doesn’t appear in any of the 50 states? Find out if you were right in the next article below!