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Boy injured in New Jersey school bus crash receives gift from hockey idol

Eleven-year-old Brendan O'Callaghan was seriously injured in a school bus crash in New Jersey last week and has been hospitalized since. The bus was taking fifth graders on a field trip to a New Jersey historic site when it collided with a dump truck Thursday morning. The bus was ripped apart and knocked on its side. Officials said one student and one teacher were killed.

The crash left Brendan with a punctured lung, broken bones and a concussion. Brendan's dad, Arnie O'Callaghan, says his son doesn't remember being in the crash and hadn't smiled in days. But when he was sent a gift from his favorite hockey player, Brendan's face lit up and then he was moved to tears.

The New York Rangers sent a goalie stick signed by Brendan's idol, Henrik Lundqvist, to the hospital. Brendan also received a card signed by the New York Rangers organization. The 5th grader appeared to be shocked by the gift from the hockey great. 

"Who's number 30?" his mom asked as she unwrapped the hockey stick. Brendan knew who it was -- his favorite player, Lundqvist. "He signed this for you, Brendan!" his mom said.

"You're in our thoughts and our prayers. Best wishes, The New York Rangers," the team said in the card to Brendan. 

I have to edit this post and thank Kevin Moran from Paramus Hockey and Dan Meyers and the rest of his hockey supporters for making this moment happen. Words can not express. A package was delivered with a signed New York Rangers Goalie stick signed by Brendan's Hockey Idol Henrik Lundqvist and a signed card from the new York Rangers Organization. This made his day seem so much more brighter for him the most alert I've seen him. Keep Praying for all the families and kids who were involved in this horrific accident . The support has been tremendous throughout friends, family, community and staff of Paramus East Brook Middle School . My family can't thank you all enough. Thank you to East Brook Middle School Principal Tommy LoBue and East Brook Staff Dana Focarelli, Chris Nutlend, and L.E.A.D.S. Officer Fox from the Paramus Police Department commit to visit today. He remembered every one of you and I can feel his happiness when you all showed up. I know inside he felt realism for the first time . And also my father who reached out to the New York Rangers to brighten a grandsons day .

Posted by Arnie O'Callaghan on Saturday, May 19, 2018

In a video his dad took, Brendan appears to be overwhelmed by the gift. He begins crying, then tries to stand up from his hospital bed. "The support has been tremendous throughout friends, family, community and staff of Paramus East Brook Middle School. My family can't thank you all enough," O'Callaghan wrote in the Facebook post, which has been viewed over 100,000 times.

Brendan's family says when he woke up after the crash, he didn't remember the accident, and thought the class trip went on without him. "I don't think he really understands why everyone's doing these things for him now," his dad said. "He wakes up, he thinks he's in a dream, like, a bad dream, and wants to get out."

O'Callaghan said his son is going to need surgery, and when he eventually gets out of Morristown Medical Center, he'll need to go to a rehabilitation center. Brendan will also need some type of nasal reconstruction, his dad says.

The boy "adored" his teacher, Jennifer Williamson. His parents say he still doesn't know that Williamson and his classmate Miranda Vargas died in the crash. 

Brendan and the rest of the community are still healing, but this gift showed him that he is not alone. 

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