A week after the dramatic car accident in which an 18-year-old Dutch driver was killed, Rik van Drongelen is preparing to pick up his life again. The central defender will in principle make his return to the training field at KV Mechelen later this week.
Last Wednesday around 07.40 am, disaster struck on the N258 near Axel in the Netherlands, Van Drongelen’s hometown. On the way to training in Mechelen, the rental player of KV collided head on with an oncoming vehicle. Van Drongelen escaped with minimal injuries – two broken fingers – but the person in the other car was no longer able to help. The 18-year-old young man from nearby Hulst died on the spot. According to his German club Union Berlin, Van Drongelen was not at all to blame for the accident.
Van Drongelen was transferred to hospital after the accident, but was discharged there that same evening. Since then, he has been staying at his parents’ house, trying to cope with the traumatic event. Given the circumstances, he is doing okay, we hear from his immediate environment. The player processes the trauma in his own way. Van Drongelen still has a hard time talking about the accident. The bony defender is in any case a man of few words.
Van Drongelen himself still remembers everything about the accident. One moment his oncoming vehicle swerved into his lane, the next there was a gigantic crash and moments later he had to be freed from the wreckage. Van Drongelen was in shock, but miraculously came out unharmed physically. The defender does realize that he was very lucky and that his car’s safety systems may have saved his life. It was only in the hospital that he learned afterwards that the other driver was less fortunate. News that came as a heavy blow and which Van Drongelen is still struggling with.
Coach Wouter Vrancken said at the end of last week that he wanted to give Van Drongelen all the time to process the accident. Although that process is still ongoing, the Dutchman wants to return to training at KV this week. Picking up his daily routine can help him in his coping process, it sounds. Van Drongelen has not driven the car since the accident. The first step he has to take now is to visit the club again. After that, it will be decided in mutual consultation between the player, his entourage and the club what is still possible this season. Whether Van Drongelen will still be in action this season is therefore unclear for the time being†