UND tight end Hunter Pinke has suffered a severe spinal injury following a skiing accident in Colorado on Friday, Fighting Hawks coach Bubba Schweigert confirmed Saturday morning.
"These players become like family members," said Schweigert, who spoke to the Pinke family Saturday morning after an extensive surgery Friday night. "When these things occur, we know wins and losses take a backseat to what the program is all about. It's about building relationships and preparing young men for the future. When I think about Hunter, I know he's got a strong Christian faith and is the spiritual leader on our team. I know he'll be very courageous and fight through any adversity that this accident has dealt him."
Schweigert said Pinke will spend the next three days in a Denver hospital to heal and determine the next steps.
Thank you all for prayers and well wishes. Surgery in a bit and then the recovery process begins. Can’t wait to get to work. Thank you all again I have no words to describe the support and prayer that’s been shared.— HP (@hunter_pinke) December 28, 2019
I WILL WALK AGAIN!!
All love!! pic.twitter.com/pVVUjrtnnn
Pinke, a 6-foot-5, 243-pound senior-to-be, comes from a UND athletics family. His mother Katie Pinke threw discus for the track and field team and his grandfather (Fred Lukens) played basketball at UND.
Pinke, who's from Wishek, N.D., and played high school basketball at South Border, is a mechanical engineering major. Pinke, who is a school leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program, primarily played special teams the past two seasons. As a redshirt freshman, he caught three passes for 54 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown catch at UC Davis.
A GoFundMe was organized by Erica Yaggie on behalf of the Pinke family.