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GoFundMe for Drury University wrestler wounded in hunting accident

Donovan Benetti

A GoFundMe page has been established for Drury University freshman wrestler Donovan Benetti, who is recovering after being wounded in a hunting accident in Phelps County, Missouri Saturday morning, just three days before the official end of the state's deer hunting season.

The fundraising page, set up to cover medical expenses for the college wrestler, had already raised over $3,000 of its $100,000 goal in its first four hours after being set up Monday afternoon.

The hunting accident was first reported at Drury's wrestling Facebook page page Saturday afternoon just hours after the incident: "This morning Donovan Benetti was in a hunting accident and was flown to University Hospital in Columbia (Mo.). He is currently out of surgery and in the ICU. He has some more surgeries ahead of him and a long road to recovery. Donovan is as tough as they come. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers."

Early Monday afternoon, that same Facebook page shared this update on Benetti's condition: "Donovan is fully awake from yesterday's surgery. The doctor has removed the breathing tube and he is now breathing on his own. Donovan is communicating positively and is surrounded by family and friends!"

Although the Drury Wrestling Facebook page is not produced by the school or its wrestling program, official Drury Athletics spokesperson Drew Beach confirmed to the Springfield News-Leader that Benetti had been seriously wounded in the Saturday hunting accident in south-central Missouri, about halfway between Springfield -- where Drury is located -- and St. Louis.

Beach added that Benetti is expected to be hospitalized for approximately two weeks.

The wounding of Benetti came just days before the conclusion of Missouri's deer-hunting season, which officially ends Tuesday.

A freshman, Benetti is listed at 197 pounds on the Drury wrestling roster.

Prior to coming to Drury, Benetti was a student-athlete at Nixa High School, located just outside Springfield, where he was a three-time Missouri state wrestling tournament qualifier, placing sixth in 2017 and fourth in 2018. According to his Drury wrestling bio, Benetti was also a three-time Academic All-American at Nixa.

Drury University, founded in 1873 as Springfield College, is a private liberal arts college located in Springfield, Missouri. Drury University has a total enrollment of approximately 5,500 students. The Drury Panthers wrestling program -- and all other intercollegiate athletic programs at the school -- compete in NCAA Division II.

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