Senior Amy Wahl of the Forest Park tennis team had a couple of severe car collisions in recent years. This is her first season playing varsity tennis because of last year’s accident and COVID-19 shutdown the season before.

FERDINAND — Last March, Amy Wahl experienced a near-catastrophe.

On a car ride back from Panama City, with her boyfriend’s family at the time, a car struck their truck.

“Last year, coming up from spring break, a drunk driver hit us,” Wahl, a senior, said. “He was drunk and drugged up. He hit us going 104 miles per hour. We did a couple flips, we were in a truck, we landed on the top side of the truck, flipped over. We were all in the backseat, me, my boyfriend and my boyfriend’s brother. And my boyfriend said that it looked like I snapped my neck, but we all ended up being okay, somehow.”

They were passing through a small town in Alabama, just narrowly missing out on head-on contact as Wahl’s driver diverged to a yard to get swiped from the side that sent them tumbling.

Wahl was in the backseat half-sleeping without a seat belt on.

“It was scary because I wasn’t with my family,” Wahl said. “I was with my boyfriend’s family. We were all okay. It would have been different if one of us had gotten hurt.”

Her mom, Betsy Corley, frantically answered the early morning call but was told to stay pat. The next day when they couldn’t get a rental car, she drove down to Alabama to return everyone home.

But Wahl, who was looking to make her varsity debut for tennis and return to full health, couldn’t put this trauma in the rearview.

“But then, I had a really bad concussion,” she said. “The doctor didn’t want me to play for like a month. It was just kind of too late, all the positions were set already.”

Things like attending class and concentration weren’t the same after the fallout.

“I cried a lot because I just had such a bad concussion,” Wahl said. “I would be in school and the lights were so bright. I couldn’t focus on tests or anything.”

This lasted for two weeks.

The aftermath of the near-tragic accident is cloudy.

“I think I blacked out for a little bit because apparently my boyfriend’s family was all yelling my name and I don’t remember that at all,” she said. “All I remember is waking up in the car. I think I blacked out for 20 seconds, maybe. All of a sudden I was out of the car, and I was like, ‘What?’ Then, I hugged my boyfriend’s mom.”

No one in their vehicle walked through hospital doors after the collision, miraculously.

Though, Wahl did get help with her concussion.

“I had a little bit of neck damage, but I went to (Riecker Chiropractic in Jasper) for a couple months, a lot, so they straightened me out more,” she said.

Wahl said the adjustment she made in the aftermath is exercising extreme caution behind the wheel.

“Now when I drive, I’m super careful because I just know that car accidents can happen like that,” Wahl said. “Because I was in one before a couple months earlier with my family, so I know how easy it can happen, too.”

Around a year earlier, she was with her family when they came to a complete stop on the highway from a collision on a rainy day.

Now, she gets to play tennis on the court like there never was a dust-up in the South.

“I remember when she went through it last year and I was shocked,” doubles partner sophomore Avari Schnieder said.

Wahl knows that she was fortunate to walk away from this crash relatively unscathed.

“When the EMTs came, and the ambulance, they said when they pulled up they thought there were going to be fatalities,” Wahl said. “We’re all good. We’ve got a guardian angel up there, I guess.”

Corley said Wahl’s protector was her late dad, Terry Wahl, who passed away in 2012.