Gazette News Report
CLARKSVILLE — When 18 guys, including eight current and former Clinton-Massie football players, set out for a white water rafting trip in West Virginia in mid-July, it was expected to be a trip that would help fathers, sons, and great friends bond.
Instead it turned tragic when of the participants, whose parents are Xenia High School graduates, was seriously injured in an ATV accident on the last night of the trip.
Chayse Wolf, a recent Clinton-Massie grade, was driving the Polaris Ranger as it maneuvered through the mountainous terrain, just like it did several times throughout the weekend. But this time one of the sharp curves along the road snuck up on him and realizing that he couldn’t make the turn, Wolf tried to bring the vehicle to a stop, but it was too late. Two wheels had already gone off the road causing the Ranger to flip and roll down the mountain.
Wolf was thrown from the vehicle, and the 1,000-plus pound Ranger rolled over top of him. While Wolf’s friends escaped the accident with cuts and bruises, they realized that his injuries were serious, so they held him in a stable position and called 911.
With Wolf’s father Travis, a 1994 Xenia High School graduate, and brothers Bayle and JT by his side, Wolf was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Chayse Wolf had suffered a shattered 12th thoracic vertebra, a fractured 1st lumbar vertebra, and an injured spinal cord that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
He underwent two surgeries to repair his vertebrae and realign his spinal column with metal rods, and while his back was structurally repaired, the paralysis remained.
Instead of heading off to Lindsey Wilson College where he had earned a football scholarship, Chayse Wolf spent a week in ICU before being transported to the Shepard Center in Atlanta for a month of acute spinal cord rehabilitation. After being discharged from the acute inpatient rehab, he briefly returned home before returning to the Shepherd Center for the outpatient rehab program.
As news of the injury spread, the support for Chayse Wolf and his family immediately began pouring in. Several family members, friends and coaches drove hundreds of miles to give him their support. From afar, others showered Chayse Wolf with gifts, food, cards, letters and prayers. Friends and family jumped in eager to assist with home modifications needed to accommodate his current state. Without solicitation, fundraisers were and continue to be orchestrated by family, friends, co-workers, community members and local businesses in hopes of easing the financial burden this incident has caused.
Chayse and the Wolf family were overwhelmed and humbled by the multitude of people, not only in the Clinton County community but the Xenia and surrounding communities as well who have come forward to offer support in the midst of this tragedy.
“It’s hard to put into words, said Chayse’s mother, EmmaLee Wolf, a 1995 Xenia High School grad. “It’s more than you could ever hope to experience in your life.”
Added Travis Wolf: “We can’t even begin to express the gratitude we feel towards all those who are supporting us through this. We are truly blessed to be part of such a caring community.”
Chayse Wolf is currently in an intense outpatient therapy program at the Shepherd Center. The muscles that began firing in his upper legs are getting stronger each day. Family members say he is applying the same work ethic and determination he displayed for years on the football field to his battle to recover from this injury.
“His spirits are up, and I am amazed everyday with how he handles himself. He is a fighter,” EmmaLee Wolf said.
Chayse Wolf is scheduled to be discharged from the Shepherd Center rehabilitation program sometime in mid-October. At that time, he will bring the fight for recovery back home where he will seek out a local spinal cord rehabilitation facility.
Although Chayse Wolf’s football career ended prematurely, he plans to continue his pursuit a college degree in the near future.
Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz with information provided by Diana Miller, Clinton-Massie communications coordinator, and Travis Wolf.
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