Breaking News
More () »

'She has an army behind her:' St. Louis volleyball club shows support for Janae, groups fight for safer streets

It's been one week since the car crash that critically injured 17-year-old Janae Edmondson.

ST. LOUIS — Saturday marked one week since the car crash that critically injured the 17-year-old volleyball star visiting St. Louis from Tennessee. 

City streets were lit up in purple again in honor of Janae Edmondson. The support for Edmondson has grown immensely, as she continues to recover. 

Edmondson's GoFundMe reached $555,482 by Saturday night. 

The St. Louis community is showing their support in several different ways too from fighting for safer streets to playing the game she loves. 

The tragedy has struck a chord nationwide throughout the volleyball community. One local team showed their support for Edmondson on the court this weekend. 

Inside the Bud Dome Sports Complex on Saturday shades of purple could be spotted pretty much everywhere. 

Lindsay Lee, Crossfire Elite Head Coach for the South 13 travel team, said her team wanted to show their support the best way they could.

"There’s been a message out in the volleyball community, across the country, to support Janae this weekend by wearing purple in the gym. Just to spread awareness about her challenges and her healing, just to give her support, so today we just did the best we could in the small ways that we can," Lee said.

Out on the court, Crossfire Elite players sported the teen's favorite color on their shoelaces, in their hair and even with their warm-up t-shirts.

Lee said the volleyball community is a "special one" and everyone was impacted by Edmondson's tragedy.

"As coaches, we see these girls in the gym every day putting their blood, sweat and tears into this sport. I feel like I see a bit of Janae in every girl in the gym. It really hit hard because it could’ve been any of our girls. Our heart goes out to Mid-TN, the coaches and the family," she said.

Between every set and every match, Edmondson's volleyball number 23, could be seen on faces, drawn on legs and throughout the stands. 

Lee said the #PlayForNae is something her team is going to bring into all of their games this season.

"She has an army behind her, she has a community behind her. It will be tough, but at Crossfire we believe that God is in control, he’s got a plan for her and he’s going to guide her in that healing process. If she needs anything while she’s here if Mid-TN needs anything, we’re happy to help," she said.

A community, that many like Christie Holland, are trying to make better.

"St. Louis is already built to a capacity to hold a lot of different modes and different travels but it’s very car-centric, as well. We’re going to have to take our time to redesign and retrofit what already exists," she said.

Holland is one of the co-chairs of the St. Louis City Community Mobility Committee. It was established in 2020 as an advisory organization under the Board of Alderman. 

The group advises the board on mobility issues around the city, according to Holland.

"It’s not always necessary to drive, but it’s also very dangerous in St. Louis to travel beyond a car. We need to change the way the infrastructure is designed, we need to change travel behavior around the city so that people know you have these options to travel to reach important destinations like your job, like getting to your family’s houses and doctor’s appointments and that you don’t have to risk your life to get to these common destinations," she said.

Traffic violence is an issue that the other co-chair, Liz Kramer, described as a "perfect storm."

"We haven’t been able to invest in infrastructure the way that other cities have in the past. We also have a state that doesn’t make rules that allows us to be safe on the roads," she said.

That's just to name a few things. 

According to Kramer, one major thing the group is working on is how to make the city's roads smaller.

"We have so much space in St. Louis and our roads are designed for people to go fast. When we have those basic repaving projects, we want to make sure that the city is considering how can we make them smaller," she said.

Kramer said street safety is always on her mind.

"I feel myself limiting what I'm doing. I feel worried, like, can I ride my bike to my friend's place or am I going to get hit on the way there? I certainly don't want anyone else to think that about us because I know that our city is better than that," she said.

The St. Louis City Community Mobility Committee recently got Board Bill 120 passed. The bill includes a number of things the group has been asking for to improve mobility across the city.

Kramer said it is designed to include more ADA accessibility on sidewalks and focus on traffic calming.

"We have such an opportunity right now to take some of those plans that are already on the shelf and get them implemented," she said. 

Another major problem, according to Kramer, is that the city approaches traffic calming on a ward-by-ward basis.

"We’re not thinking comprehensively about what we could do as a whole city to change the standard and therefore change the culture about the way that we drive, how much we care about neighbors and how willing we are to take care of them," she said.

Holland said transportation is a way to make St. Louis more resilient. 

"Luckily we are built to hold a lot of people in the city and as St. Louis continues to grow and market to people to bring new residents into the city and new visitors into the city. There’s opportunity to do that. We just have to carefully and strategically work with our partners across the tables and across the industry to make that happen," she said.

Before You Leave, Check This Out