Family staying positive as paralyzed Mill Valley baseball player works toward recovery

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Nolan Sprague should be starting his senior year at Mill Valley High School on Wednesday. Instead, the baseball pitcher remains in the hospital after being paralyzed in a diving accident.

The 17-year-old's sister, Ali, said her brother’s surgery at Overland Park Regional went well, and although it`s difficult to see him like this, they`re all staying positive.

“He currently can`t feel from the chest down, but we've got a lot of prayers and a lot of numbers on our side. He`s going to be alright,” Ali said.

Nolan Sprague (Photo courtesy of the Sprague family)

She said her mom called her and told her to come to the hospital last week. It was about her little brother.

“Honestly, I read the text probably about five times, made sure who it was from, who it was to. Stuff happens every day, but you never expect things like that,” said close family friend, Bryan Shrader, who said Nolan’s dad notified him via text.

Nolan dove into a neighborhood pool, hit his head, broke his neck, and is now paralyzed from the chest down.

“He`s a hard-headed kid. He`s still been joking around. He still has a super good heart and is funny,” Ali said of her brother.

“With my boys, you put yourself in their position, and seeing your friend hurting is just something you don`t want to see. And Nolan`s facing a long battle, and it`s just hard, hard to see that,” Shrader said.

Ali said there are no words to express how grateful they are for all the community support.

She said so many people, including Nolan's teammates from the Mill Valley baseball team, have all stopped by and visited as often as they can.

Nolan Sprague

“It`s been amazing. We cannot put into words how amazing the community has been, how amazing it`s been to see a community come together. Sadly it`s for a sad thing and not for an awesome thing,” Ali said.

“It`s awe inspiring, and it`s nice to know we live in a community that cares,” Shrader added.

Ali said it's tough seeing her very active brother like this but, like his family, he's staying positive, too.

“It was hard to see him lying there, but he still was talking and being funny. So he`s a strong kid, as far as that goes. It`s difficult every time, but it won`t always be like this,” Ali said.

Even Royals pitcher Danny Duffy caught wind of what happened to Nolan and shared a tweet in support of his recovery. Nolan’s sister said Duffy is one of his favorite players, and it lifted his spirits during this difficult time.

She also said doctors say he could be out of the hospital in as soon as seven days. He’ll then go to a rehabilitation facility.