- Associated Press - Friday, June 2, 2017

IPSWICH, S.D. (AP) - A high school athlete has been released from a Sioux Falls hospital after undergoing surgery for a head injury suffered while pole vaulting during practice.

The Aberdeen News (https://bit.ly/2shFaPY ) reported that Ipswich High School athlete Taylor Maurer wasn’t wearing a helmet when she struck her head during an attempted controlled descent May 23.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association lets individual programs decide if athletes must wear helmets. The association doesn’t keep track of numbers but few pole vaulters wear them.

Wade Royer is the pole vault coach for Northern State University. He said he’s never seen someone injured while making a controlled descent.

“I am never going to say wearing a helmet is a bad idea,” Royer said. “Accidents will happen, but like I said, I’ve never seen that (type of injury) happen during a meet I was participating in or directly coaching in. It is really such an infrequent type of accident, but I can see where it may bring up the use of helmets.”

Ipswich pole vaulting coach Kayla Nilsson said Maurer is on the road to recovery and has the potential to return to the sport.

“She is very active and energetic. She doesn’t want to just sit around,” Nilsson said. “I can envision her getting through this. You just have to know her. She’s strong-willed, and doesn’t give up on things.”

Nilsson started a GoFundMe fundraising account in Maurer’s name to help raise money to cover her hospital bills. It raised more than $1,000 in the first 24 hours.

“Ipswich and the surrounding community have shown a tremendous amount of support. I really wanted to start this so Taylor’s family can focus on her getting her better and not have to worry about trying to handle the financial (burden) alone,” she said.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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