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Published January 06 2012

Former area wrestler on road to recovery after near-deadly accident

Fargo - Central Cass High School wrestling coach Travis Lemar still envisions a day when he is sitting side-by-side with good friend David Folden in the Squirrels’ practice room.

Getting Folden back as a Central Cass assistant was the plan before the accident. It’s still Lemar’s plan, despite the long, hard road it could take to make it happen.

Folden, 27, was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash on Nov. 1 in Davenport, Iowa. He had moved to that area with his wife three years ago to get a chiropractic degree.

Lemar said Folden was planning to move back to Casselton, N.D., in February. The former Rugby High School standout was also hoping to get back on the Central Cass wrestling staff.

“I really believe it,” said Lemar, who had Folden as a Squirrels assistant from 2006-08. “I really believe one of these days he will be sitting matside with me again.”

Folden, who wrestled for Jamestown College and Minnesota State Moorhead, was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a car.

Lemar said doctors gave Folden little chance to survive the night of the accident. He made it.

He was eventually transferred to University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City with massive head trauma, and later moved to a rehabilitation facility.

Day by day, Folden has progressed, Lemar, said.

“He’s made great strides,” Lemar said. “The rehab deals specifically with brain injuries. Doctors have told me his injury is equal to Shaken Baby Syndrome.”

Lemar said he was shocked when he recently visited Folden in Iowa.

Folden is walking with assistance, and he is carrying on conversations with family.

But the financial burden has been huge for the Foldens.

Lemar is trying to help.

He’s organized a benefit for Folden from 4:30-7 p.m. on Sunday at St. Leo’s Parish in Casselton. There will be a meal and live and silent auctions.

“It’s kind of never-ending,” Lemar said. “Every time they turn around there is another bill there. That’s why we said we have to do this fundraiser. We have to raise as much money as we can so all they have to worry about is how he gets healthy.”

The benefit’s silent auction is scheduled for 4:30-6:30, the live auction is from 6-7 and the meal begins at 5.

Auction items include four lower bowl tickets to a University of North Dakota versus Minnesota hockey game at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Jan. 13, a grill and two reserved seats and three nights lodging for the North Dakota state wrestling tournament.

Cost to attend the benefit is $25. All money will go to the Folden family to help with medical bills.

The local wrestling community has already showed tremendous support, Lemar said.

At a dual meet earlier this year, Hillsboro High School raised about $800 for Folden.

Current wrestling parents, parents of former Central Cass athletes and people from all over the state have pitched in to help.

“The amount of support is amazing,” said Lemar, the head coach at Central Cass for 11 years. “In Casselton, from everywhere, from other coaches, families, it’s been unreal. People who can’t make the benefit are sending a check, families are donating items for the silent auction, food, money, everything.

“The wrestling community in this region never ceases to amaze me.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com