Teen baseball star paralyzed in diving accident

A Kansas teen gearing up for his senior year of high school suffered a life-changing injury in a tragic diving accident last week that rocked his baseball teammates and their community.

Nolan Sprague, who according to his coach excelled on the mound and was headed for college ball, was paralyzed in the accident and may never walk again, Fox4KC.com reported.

“It’s always shocking when it's somebody that you’re close to,” Jeff Strickland, Mill Valley High baseball coach, told the news outlet. “You hear about things like that happening, but when it happens to somebody that you’re close to, I guess that’s the shocking part of it.”

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Sprague, whose family owns a baseball academy down the road from the high school, was injured at a neighborhood pool on Thursday and underwent surgery at Overland Park Regional Medical Center on Friday morning. Strickland said baseball is a “big, big part” of Sprague’s family life, and that he’s helped coach him since he was 7.

Some of Sprague’s teammates were on-hand for the 17-year-old’s 4:30 a.m. procedure on Friday.

“For some of these kids, it’s the first truly traumatic thing that’s happened in their lives,” Strickland told Fox4KC. “So you want to help them deal with things, and if you preach in a program that you’re there for your buddies and your family, then you need to be there.”

Fundraisers and a GoFundMe page have brought in more than $101,000 to help cover medical expenses.