Feeling of relief

Olathe's Solseth thankful to be back on mat after car accident

Olathe’s Jacob Solseth, who defeated Rifle’s Isaac Rider in the second round of the Warrior Classic, failed to place in the tournament, but doesn’t consider his finish a failure. Just being on the mat was a win for the senior, who sustained a ruptured spleen in a single-car accident in October.

Olathe’s Jacob Solseth, center, warms up by hopping on the sidelines while watching a teammate compete as he waits for his turn on the mat during Friday’s Warrior Classic Invitational wrestling tournament.

Jacob Solseth has big goals this wrestling season, but those dreams were nearly shattered one night.

The Olathe High School senior was driving home from Montrose one night after a tutoring session for the ACT college-entry exam in late October when he got on his cell phone, lost control of his Honda Pilot and crashed.

“I was talking on the phone and shouldn’t be,” Solseth said. “I overcorrected and rolled through a fence. It rolled three-and-one-half times.

“It was pretty scary. You think about stuff. Your life kind of flashes before your eyes in slow motion.”

The car was lying upside down when it stopped rolling. Solseth crawled out the window and walked away. The car was totaled.

Another driver saw the accident and called 9-1-1. Solseth called his dad.

“He was glad I was all right,” Solseth said.

His mother, Kari Keller, saw the car before she saw her son.

“We feel blessed,” she said. “We are very lucky.

“It’s one of those things, you know God has a plan for him. We’ve just got to figure out what it is.”

Solseth said he was taken to the Montrose hospital with a ruptured spleen.

He was in the intensive-care unit for a week, then on mandatory bed rest for another week.

“When it first happened, a lot of people came and visited me in the hospital,” Solseth said.

He celebrated his 18th birthday a little more than a week after the accident.

“I spent most of the day in bed, but it was definitely a gift to be out of the hospital,” he said.

Solseth missed two weeks of school and Olathe’s final football game of the season because of the accident.

“I knew I might not be wrestling until after Christmas, but I healed quick,” he said. “I’m excited to be back and am ready to go.”

Solseth was in the wrestling room the day he was cleared to return to physical activity.

The 132-pounder wrestled his first match a week ago Thursday against Grand Junction.

The team captain and returning state placer is wrestling in his fourth Warrior Classic, but hasn’t placed.

“To compete in a tournament like this is huge,” Olathe coach Tee Jay Rose said. “That was his biggest thing, he wanted to come back for this tourn-ament.”

Solseth reached the quarterfinals, but lost back-to-back matches to finish one round shy of placing.

“I didn’t expect to be here, but I’m excited I get another chance here,” Solseth said. “I thought for sure I wouldn’t be here. I’m definitely taking advantage of the opportunity.

“It is definitely a blessing. It can go faster than you think. You definitely want to make the most of everything you’ve got.”

For Keller, seeing her son wrestle again is a gift.

“He feels like he’s behind, but he gets to be out there,” Keller said. “This is icing on the cake.”

Now, Solseth reminds his friends to be careful when they get behind the wheel.

“I remind people sometimes to put their seat belt on,” Solseth said. “It definitely saved my life. And don’t talk on the phone.”


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