Ramona Community Rallying for Coach, School Volunteer Hurt in Bike Crash - NBC 7 San Diego

Ramona Community Rallying for Coach, School Volunteer Hurt in Bike Crash

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    Ramona Community Rallying for Coach, School Volunteer

    As Doug Sooley lies recovering in the hospital, the Ramona community is hard at work raising money for his recovery. NBC 7's Dave Summers has the story.

    (Published Friday, Jan. 12, 2018)

    The Ramona community is rallying around a high school coach and volunteer who was severely hurt in a New Year's Day bike accident.

    The accident left Doug Sooley, a coach and the official sports photographer at Ramona High School, in intensive care at Palomar Medical Center for nine days.

    Sooley’s condition is improving, but he remains in the intermediate care unit, a step down from ICU at Palomar Medical Center.

    His injuries are severe but he has the strength of a grateful community behind him.

    Sooley made a career out of his passion for photography, but makes a life out of his passion for helping others.

    "I know that he gets a lot of happiness out of giving and just being able to see other people smile," Doug’s daughter Bethany Sooley said.

    As a photographer, father and grandfather, Sooley is skilled at capturing the intensity of the moment on and off the field.

    "He's all about building community and participating in the community," close friend Joe Sigurdson said.

    Sigurdson and Sooley helped develop the Boys to Men mentoring program for fatherless and at-risk boys 20 years ago.

    “He's a very introspective and very grounded, spiritual guy," Sigurdson said.

    On New Year’s Day, Doug was riding bikes with his friend, and Boys to Men graduate, Steve Molik when he lost control of his bike and tumbled over the handlebars. He broke his shoulder and collarbone, seven ribs and his pelvis in several places.

    "A lot of anxiety. I wasn't sure what was going on so I was really scared," Bethany said.

    Sooley has been in a hospital bed ever since, but Ramona is not lying down.

    The community has launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Sooley's hospital bills, and they're getting his story out there on social media.

    "I want him to get back up on his bike and conquer this and get that camera back in his hands,” Bethany said.

    His daughter says Sooley has another week in the hospital plus three to four months of intensive physical therapy before he can get his life back to normal.

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