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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Alum recovering after crash

By Armando Montaño

A handful of people gathered in JRC Room 209 on Thursday to sign cards and take part in a video message for Phil Hagen ’10 and his family, wishing his speedy recovery after his car accident in West Des Moines on January 10.

Grinnell students made paper and video cards on Thursday night for Phil Hagen \’10 and his family, two weeks after a car crash sent him to the ICU ward at Mercy Medical Center in West Des Moines – Daniel Penny

“Phil was an involved student and well-liked by many people,” said SGA Treasurer Gabe Schechter ’12, who helped organize the card signing and video making for the Hagen family yesterday. “We were hoping, through the cards and messages through video camera, we could support him and his family as he recovers.”

Even after a year, Hagen still has friends at Grinnell.

“Phil is a really smart, funny and interesting person, it is such a shame he has faced a such a terrible injury,” said Dylan O’ Donoghue ’11.

Donoghue went to the card signing with Vicky Diedrichs ’11. Even though they’re going to West Des Moines to visit him at Mercy Medical Center in West Des Moines next week, they wanted to express their support every way they could.

“We thought it would be nice to write him silly cards and send him a message to go along with them,” she said.

Hagen hit a car at an intersection in West Des Moines after running a red light at 50 miles an hour. He was rushed to Mercy Hospital in West Des Monies, according to police reports.

“We were advised late this afternoon that tomorrow Philip would be moved to a room on the rehabilitation floor to begin his initial intensive therapies,” Hagen’s mother wrote in a recent post on the family’s blog chronicling his recovery.

Hagen’s parents, Lynn and Howard Hagen, set up the blog on, a public online website devoted to monitoring the status of patients undergoing treatment at hospitals. For the past two and a half weeks, visitors have read about Hagen’s progress, from his sleep in a medically induced coma to the removal of his neck brace and the beginning of his physical therapy.

So far there has been over 6,000 visitors to his CaringBridge page and nearly 30 entries in the journal his parents keep, chronicling his recuperation.

Vincent Geels ’10, Hagen’s friend from Grinnell, found out from mutual friend Greg Swanson ’10 a few days after the event, and talked to Hagen’s mother about the accident.

“It was an emotional conversation, and Phil was stable but there wasn’t any more going on at that point.” Geels said.

Many friends of Hagen from Grinnell who now live on the east coast joined Geels in Brooklyn, NY to support each other when Hagen was in critical condition.

“It was really good to have all the other people who were really close to me be here,” Geels said. “It was much much easier to deal with my best friends around.”

Schechter believes that support from the Grinnell community doesn’t end after graduation.
“We care a lot about Grinnellians, whether they’re graduated or they’re still here.”

As Schechter expressed, the Grinnell community will continue to have Hagen and his family in their thoughts during his recovery.

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