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Community rallies around senior injured in diving accident

Tossing a pitch during a game against SMW in the 2018 season, senior Nolan Sprague works to strike a batter out on Friday, March 23. After pitching five innings, Sprague led the team to a 4-1 victory.

Tossing a pitch during a game against SMW in the 2018 season, senior Nolan Sprague works to strike a batter out on Friday, March 23. After pitching five innings, Sprague led the team to a 4-1 victory.

By Mia Thomas

Tossing a pitch during a game against SMW in the 2018 season, senior Nolan Sprague works to strike a batter out on Friday, March 23. After pitching five innings, Sprague led the team to a 4-1 victory.

By Mia Thomas

By Mia Thomas

Tossing a pitch during a game against SMW in the 2018 season, senior Nolan Sprague works to strike a batter out on Friday, March 23. After pitching five innings, Sprague led the team to a 4-1 victory.

Community rallies around senior injured in diving accident

Senior Nolan Sprague sustained a serious neck injury on Thursday, Aug. 9

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  • Tossing a pitch during a game against SMW in the 2018 season, senior Nolan Sprague works to strike a batter out on Friday, March 23. After pitching five innings, Sprague led the team to a 4-1 victory.

  • Offering advice to teammates and classmates of senior Nolan Sprague, Strike Zone coach Cliff Smith speaks at the prayer vigil on Saturday, Aug. 11. "When you're on the field, you have to be a team to win the game," Smith said, "You have to be a team to get through this."

  • Gathered outside the baseball field, community members offer support to senior Nolan Sprague through prayer, messages and donations at the prayer vigil held on Saturday, Aug. 11.

  • Standing around a poster for senior Nolan Sprague, senior Jessie Leininger waits to write a message for support.

  • Leading the Saturday, Aug. 11 prayer vigil, Westside Family Church care ministries pastor Jim Heaton speaks of how important classmate support towards senior Nolan Sprague has been during his recovery. Quoting the Bible, Heaton said, "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than me."

  • Breaking off into small groups several times, community members pray for senior Nolan Sprague during the prayer vigil held Saturday, Aug. 11 in his honor.

  • Surrounded by teammates of senior Nolan Sprague, sophomores Cooper Marsh and Trey Worcester attend the prayer vigil on Saturday, Aug. 11.

  • Gathered in a small group, senior Mia Thomas and graduate Kendall Gaignat pray with community members for senior Nolan Sprague on Saturday, Aug. 11.

  • Speaking at the prayer vigil on Saturday, Aug. 11, Westside Family Church care ministries pastor Jim Heaton challenges attendees. "If ever there is one you see with what you would call a disability, don't label them by what they can't do," Heaton said, "Label them by who they are."

  • Promising to support senior Nolan Sprague and others in times of difficulty, seniors Bella Line and Addie Ward raise their hands in solidarity.

  • Writing a message for senior Nolan Sprague, graduate Kendall Gaignat lends her support at a prayer vigil held in his honor on Saturday, Aug. 11.

  • While helping with t-shirt sales, senior Quinton Hall stops to give senior Nolan Sprague's brother a hug.

  • After organizing the t-shirts in order by size, senior Devin Bly hands someone a shirt.

  • Senior baseball players help junior Cline Boone pick out his t-shirt.

  • With her two kids, English teacher Ashley Agre orders a "Team Nolan" shirt on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

  • Senior Nolan Sprague.

    By Interstate Photography

  • Senior pitcher Nolan Sprague receives advice from assistant baseball coach Dustin Stinnett after completing a game on Friday, March 23, 2018 against SMW.

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The community has come together after senior Nolan Sprague was paralyzed from the waist down after a diving accident on the night of Thursday, Aug. 9.

Sprague is currently out of the ICU and is now in the pediatrics wing at Overland Park Regional Hospital following the accident. He is undergoing physical therapy and will be moving into a rehabilitation facility, according to updates from the Facebook page “Team Nolan” and posts on CaringBridge.

After pulling Sprague from the neighborhood pool where the accident happened, senior Quinton Hall called emergency dispatchers upon realizing the severity of Sprague’s injuries. Hall, a close friend of Sprague since middle school, has been present by Sprague’s side in the hospital every day since the accident.

“I’m upset and kind of angry … that it happened to Nolan,” Hall said. “It’s still shocking to me … I would have never thought it would have happened.”

After word spread about Sprague’s accident, the community has rallied behind the family in several ways. A prayer vigil was held in Nolan’s name on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. at the school baseball fields.

Lacey Rios, a family friend who helped organize the prayer vigil, was grateful for the outpouring of support for the Sprague family. Rios estimates that between 800 and 1,000 people showed up to the vigil.

“We thought there’d be a lot of people there, but it was just overwhelming, the support from the community,” Rios said. “Baseball is family, and it showed that day 一 it was just amazing.”

Several fundraising efforts are currently underway to aid the Sprague family financially in what will be a long journey through rehabilitation. The largest fundraiser, a GoFundMe campaign, has raised $108,780 of its $150,000 goal as of Thursday, Aug. 16.

In addition, a fundraiser was held at the school to collect donations, as well as sell “Team Nolan” t-shirts and stickers on Wednesday, Aug. 15. According to head baseball coach Jeff Strickland, every t-shirt, in all sizes, from the original batch was sold out. However, shirts will be available for purchase from Strickland on Monday, Aug. 20.

The dedication and support from the community is invaluable, according to Strickland.

“The whole community has been fantastic because they know what kind of family the Spragues are 一 a very giving family [who have] touched a lot of people’s lives,” Strickland said. “There is always going to be more to do, but at this point the community has been fantastic.”

The baseball team is dedicated to helping the Spragues in the aftermath of this accident, according to Strickland.

“We are going to help the Spragues with any upkeep of their house and that kind of thing,” Strickland said. “Our main role is just to help them out in any way possible and to just support [them] financially with whatever [it] may be.”

According to Hall, the baseball team was impacted not only on an individual level, but as a whole as well.

“It’s affecting a lot of people, knowing that he is a big part of our team and is … a leader,” Hall said. “[He’s] a huge part of the program that we’ve lost now, which everyone is realizing.”

Going forward, Hall believes continued community support would be beneficial for the Sprague family.

“I know that all prayers would help, I know his family is going through a hard time, but the community has helped so much with the support and the prayer,” Hall said. “Everyone is just being really amazing right now with all the love and showing support for Nolan. It just feels good when everyone is there.”

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