By BRETT MARSHALL
On the opening night of the high school football season, Satanta freshman Anthony Crump and his teammates were playing in Goodwell, Okla., a game that would eventually see the Indians prevail, 36-8.
But Crump wasn't on the field when the game was over, having suffered an injury on a kickoff return. The immediate impact was serious, with Crump losing feeling in his arms and legs, from the mid-chest area down, according to Satanta athletic director Mark Calvin.
"It was a good tackle, there was nothing about it that was intentional," Calvin said. "The head was up on the tackle but he (Crump) just went down on the play. He couldn't feel or move anything on the lower portion of his body."
Crump was immediately rushed to Satanta's hospital where it was then determined to life-flight him to Wichita's Wesley Medical Center.
While being evaluated in Wichita that weekend, doctors were trying to get him transferred to hospitals in Denver or Nebraska, but the family's health insurance plan wouldn't allow those destinations to be used.
The Midian Shriner's in Wichita stepped in, offered a plane to transport Anthony to one of their children's hospitals in Chicago, where he is now undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. That is expected to take several months, with many medical and travel expenses adding up quickly.
Several area schools and communities have jumped in and provided financial support to help defer the family's expenses.
"We've had great response so far," Calvin said. "We've had donations from Philadelphia to Nashville and many other places."
The severity of Crump's injuries are clear when the diagnosis is discussed — a broken C3 vertebrae, damaged tendons in the spinal cord along with an injured C4 vertebrae while suffering a hematoma.
"Anthony's optimistic," Calvin said. "Doctors are saying that it might be three years before he walks unassisted, but Anthony says it will be one year and I'd say so far that Anthony's assessment is closer. He's able to pull himself along with his feet when he sits in a wheelchair. The movement he's regained is minimal, really minimal, but there is some progress."
Calvin said Crump is in almost constant pain, thus necessitating some sedation to ease that pain.
"He can go for about 15 minutes before he's overloaded, exhausted and the pain returns," Calvin said.
In an effort to help Crump with both his rehabilitation and his classes at Satanta High, Calvin has been working with educational sources from the Shriner's, the state of Kansas and the local school district.
"We're trying to set up tutors and educational staff to work with him each day," Calvin said. "We've begun discussions on how to continue his education. We're looking at using Apple TV, Facetime and having our local teachers work with him in 15-minute segments that then allows him to do the work on his own time. The ultimate goal is to do it daily — both therapy and classwork."
For the better part of 10 days, Calvin said it had been a 24/7 process to work things out for Crump.
"We're just trying to raise awareness and make sure he and his family are taken care of to the best of our ability," Calvin said. "There's been a great outpouring of support."
Calvin said the school would be working with local charities to further assist the Crump family.
One of the major fundraisers planned will take place on Sept. 29 when Satanta High hosts a coed faculty volleyball tournament. The 2 p.m. tourney will have an entry fee and all area school districts are encouraged to enter a team to help raise funds.
Anyone interested in donating to the fund can call either Shelley Kuehler or Calvin at 620-649-2611 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Those attending the volleyball event are encouraged to make a donation.