Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory
Becker robotics Safety Captain Aliyah Szabla (L) offered the cast on her broken arm for teammates to sign as KARE 11 news reporter Morgan Wolfe (R) looked on. (Patriot Photo by Mark Kolbinger).

Szabla surprises her robotics teammates

It was an emotional reunion last Friday, as Aliyah Szabla surprised her robotics teammates by visiting practice after she was released from the hospital.  The fact that she walked into practice at all was proclaimed by those in attendance as nothing short of a miracle.

Before school on Feb. 8, Szabla was involved in a head-on collision on Co. Rd. 8 that left her life, much less her robotics career, in limbo.

Szabla sustained critical injuries in the accident, including a traumatic brain injury, facial fractures, multiple brain bleeds and a broken arm.

She was originally airlifted to North Memorial Hospital and when her parents, Christie and Jason, arrived at the medical center, they were greeted with alarming news.

“They told me that she might not be ‘Aliyah’ anymore, that she might not be able to do things,” Christie relayed to the team, recalling the first update she received from doctors.  

After spending time in the ICU, Aliyah’s miraculous recovery began and less than a month later, she was being discharged.

“This is a miracle,” Christie told the group.  “They told us that this doesn’t happen, they don’t release people this early.”

As Aliyah walked into the practice to surprise her teammates, KARE 11 reporter Morgan Wolfe was on hand to capture the homecoming, which was featured on the news station that same night.

Eager teammates formed a line to offer hugs and soon, they were signing the cast that protects her left arm.  Szabla planned to resume school this week and Christie says that the medical staff was adamant about the role that the robotics team can play in Aliyah’s continued recovery.

“Robotics is her identity and having her robotics family here is special,” Christie told the crowd.  “She needs to be around the team and in familiar territory.”

The future

Christie says that it will be a full six months at a minimum before the doctors can assess any lasting impacts the crash might have, but for now, they will be focusing on supporting Aliyah and her continued recovery.

Robotics Coach Alex Jurek noted that Szabla is the team’s Safety Captain, and she has won the Safety All-Star Award at every event she has participated in, including the World Championships.  

As she works her way back to the position, the robotics team has organized a t-shirt fundraiser for the family, with the the words “Aliyah’s Army” emblazoned across the back - a nod to how the entire squad is rallying around their teammate.  A GoFundMe online fundraiser is also active and can be found by searching Aliyah’s Army on that site.

The Becker Robotics Booster Club will be teaming up with the Becker Association of Professional Educators for an upcoming fundraiser to help defray some of the costs the family has and will incur as Aliyah continues her recovery.  In true “team-first’ fashion, the event will be held in early June, once the robotics season is completed and everyone can turn their attention to supporting the family and the team’s “living miracle” Safety Captain.