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Run for Ryan: Pella Christian rallies around paralyzed teammate

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Ryan Natelborg was about to start his senior season as one of the best runners on one of the best teams in the state. A swimming accident at a lake changed everything. On July 30, the Pella Christian senior was at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. He ran into the water and dove in but did not realize how shallow the water was. He hit his head and immediately went numb. “I couldn’t move,” he said. “I was trying to swim. I was helpless. All I could do was hold my breath and hope somebody came. I couldn’t move anything at all immediately after impact. It was so scary being under. I thought it was over. Didn’t ‘t think anyone was coming.” GOFUNDME for Ryan Natelborg He was rushed to a hospital in Madison. An MRI showed a C5 burst fracture in his spine, along with some damage to the C6. He went into surgery around midnight, which went well, but changes since then have been small. He has since been transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver. His rehab is going well. While he has regained movement in his arms and upper body, he knows he has a very small chance of ever walking again.”If you look behind and see what’s lost that can get really sad,” said his father, Tim Natelborg. “The hardest part is made easy because we follow Ryan. He has handled it so well. That is what pushes us through the hardest part.” “Walking is not everything,” said Ryan. “I can still have a lot of fun. There’s a lot of stuff you can have. We are not on Earth forever. I have faith I will have a better life in Heaven. I can be a light to others. It is not everything. . I can still have a lot of good outlooks on life still and do a lot of fun things. I did not have a brain injury. I can still talk to my friends. I’m not gonna lose them.” The support at Pella Christian High School has been tremendous. Before each meeting, he will send a video to head coach Mike Buchheit, who shares it with the team. At the meets and practices, the team will send videos back to Ryan, the inspiration for their success so far this season. “We will take a sharpie and write ‘Run for Ryan’ on our arms,” ​​said senior Kaden Van Wyngarden. “At a couple of meets I looked down at my arm and saw Ryan there and it helped me a lot seeing him there.” The boys’ team is in the top ten, while the girls are getting close. Each team is expected to challenge for a spot at State next month. “What these teams are doing is spectacular,” said Buchheit. “This is an inspired team. They are doing things that can only be influenced from something much bigger than each one of us. Ryan is that inspiration.” The constant, energetic videos keep both sides engaged and motivated. “They make my day,” said Ryan. “It helps me feel like I am there and part of the team.” The family hopes to be discharged and back home in Iowa at the end of November.

Ryan Natelborg was about to start his senior season as one of the best runners on one of the best teams in the state. A swimming accident at a lake changed everything.

On July 30, the Pella Christian senior was at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. He ran into the water and dove in but did not realize how shallow the water was. He hit his head and immediately went numb.

“I couldn’t move,” he said. “I was trying to swim. I was helpless. All I could do was hold my breath and hope somebody came. I couldn’t move anything at all immediately after impact. It was so scary being under. I thought it was over. Didn’t “I don’t think anyone was coming.”

GOFUNDME for Ryan Natelborg

He was rushed to a hospital in Madison. An MRI showed a C5 burst fracture in his spine, along with some damage to the C6. He went into surgery around midnight, which went well, but changes since then have been small. He has since been transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver. His rehab is going well. While he has regained movement in his arms and upper body, he knows he has a very small chance of ever walking again.

“If you look behind and see what’s lost that can get really sad,” said his father, Tim Natelborg. “The hardest part is made easy because we follow Ryan. He has handled it so well. That is what pushes us through the hardest part.”

“Walking is not everything,” said Ryan. “I can still have a lot of fun. There’s a lot of stuff you can have. We are not on Earth forever. I have faith I will have a better life in Heaven. I can be a light to others. It is not everything. . I can still have a lot of good outlooks on life still and do a lot of fun things. I did not have a brain injury. I can still talk to my friends. I’m not gonna lose them.”

The support at Pella Christian High School has been tremendous. Before each meeting, he will send a video to head coach Mike Buchheit, who shares it with the team. At the meets and practices, the team will send videos back to Ryan, the inspiration for their success so far this season.

“We will take a sharpie and write ‘Run for Ryan’ on our arms,” ​​said senior Kaden Van Wyngarden. “At a couple of meets I looked down at my arm and saw Ryan there and it helped me a lot seeing him there.”

The boys’ team is in the top ten, while the girls are getting close. Each team is expected to challenge for a spot at State next month. “What these teams are doing is spectacular,” said Buchheit. “This is an inspired team. They are doing things that can only be influenced from something much bigger than each one of us. Ryan is that inspiration.”

The constant, energetic videos keep both sides engaged and motivated. “They make my day,” said Ryan. “It helps me feel like I am there and part of the team.”

The family hopes to be discharged and back home in Iowa at the end of November.

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