A fighter's spirit - article on a kid from my HS
Shane is a great kid. He literally is and has been all smiles before and after the accident. It talks a lot about his phsyical injuries, but not really anything about the mental side. When you talk to him, you know something is wrong. He takes a while to process information, and is slow to talk, but what he says is still highly intelligent.
He is/was a very good athlete. It's just a good reminder that no matter how bad you think you have it, someone out there has it even worse, and takes it all with a smile.
A fighter's spirit
Monroe Central junior responds positively to injuries from traumatic summer car wreck
By THOMAS ST. MYER
PARKER CITY -- When the right front tire on his Chevrolet Z71 extended cab blew on Randolph County 300-N shortly after midnight on July 12, Monroe Central junior Shane Hines reacted by oversteering to correct the alignment.
What happened next put he and his passenger, 2008 Monroe Central graduate Jared Conatser, in the Fort Wayne Parkview Hospital intensive care unit with life-altering injuries.
That fateful night left irrevocable scars, but the two teenagers refuse to let the accident ruin their lives. Both somehow found the strength to overcome the odds and put their setbacks in the rearview mirror.
Conatser smashed his head in the vehicle. The brain trauma from the powerful blow put him in the hospital for eight weeks. Hines says that Conatser repeats words occasionally, but overall shows no visible signs from the accident.
"He's come a long way," Hines says. "If he couldn't get better, I don't know how I'd get over it."
As for Hines, he suffered injuries that remain noticeable now and for the foreseeable future. He broke a vertebrae and partially tore his spinal cord. Diagnosed a paraplegic, the 6-foot-1 rail-thin Hines relies on a walker and a quad cane to walk.
A three-sport athlete before the accident, Hines ran cross country and played basketball and baseball. The injury sidelined him from athletics, but he remains active in the Monroe Central basketball program.
Hines promises to be on the bench tonight when the Class A No. 5 Golden Bears (11-2) play at Class 2A No. 8 Winchester (11-3) in The Star Press Game of the Week
Hines misses some practices when he rehabs at Midwest Health Strategies, but otherwise he shows up to support his teammates. He wears his No. 30 jersey to school on gamedays and he sits with the rest of the players on the bench at games.
"The hardest part is knowing I can't go out there and help them," Hines says. "If it's like a blowout game, it doesn't really bother me, but when we played Wapahani and Winchester it was hard to watch."
Monroe Central coach Jeremy Duncan speaks with certainty in his voice when he says Hines will play again for the Golden Bears before he graduates next year.
"He'll take the floor at some point under his own power, and I'll cry like a baby," Duncan says.
Duncan vividly remembers the phone call from Monroe Central junior guard Trey Thomas at about 2 a.m., roughly two hours after the accident.
"It's one of those things I won't forget," the coach says. "At first, the details were so sketchy."
Hines says the vehicle slid into a ditch and that the collision turned the truck into "a convertible." The teenagers blacked out after the accident, though Hines gained consciousness long enough to tell someone on the scene his and his parents' names.
Hines woke up hours later in the Parkview intensive care unit. Paramedics pried the boys out of the vehicle with jaws of life and airlifted them to the hospital. Hines says he felt pain in his right arm, neck and down his back.
He then felt a slight sensation in his legs before the doctor told him of the impairment in his lower extremities.
"I didn't know what happened. I thought I was going to get to leave that day," Hines says. "I really didn't try to move (my legs) until they told me what happened."
Poked and prodded for the next seven weeks, Hines somehow stayed positive throughout the ordeal.
Whenever friends or family visited him, Hines eased the tension by flashing his toothy grin and saying just the right words.
"The first thing he said to me was, 'I can pee lying in bed'" says Monroe Central sophomore Logan Thomas whose older brother, Trey Thomas, is best friends with Hines.
Trey Thomas first heard of the accident through a text message at about 1 a.m., roughly an hour after the accident. Emotionally shook, Trey drove into Parker City and hung out with a friend, drinking coffee and trying to wrap his mind around what happened to Hines.
Trey visited Hines the next day and found him in good spirits. Trey practically lived at Parkview for the next seven weeks, visiting his friend daily. He marvels at how Hines always remained in good spirits and somehow lifted the spirits of those around him.
"He's handled it better than anybody I think could. He's not going to let it get him down. It makes him work harder," Trey says. "He was making people laugh even in the hospital."
Hines proved to be charmer at Parkview. He exchanged Facebook accounts with an attractive nurse that he remains in touch with, though to his chagrin she is engaged and about to be married.
His father, Sam Hines, laughs when reminded about the nurse. Sam beams with pride when discussing how his son responded emotionally to the physical setback.
"He's kept everybody strong," Sam says of his son. "It was absolutely devastating, but being around him he lifted everybody up. The chaplain at the hospital would always say, 'I like to come in and see you, because you lift me up.' He's just that way. He's unbelievable. He has never asked (why me) to this day. It's a miracle."
Defying the odds
His parents, Sam and Cindy, try as best possible to grant his request and treat him the same as his two older sisters, Ashley and Samantha.
Sam says his son refuses to let his condition prevent him from accomplishing activities around the house. The family put a ramp over the two steps leading to the front door of the house and renovated the bathtub by inserting railings and a seat in there. He moves about the house only assisted by a quad cane.
"I don't want to be like, 'Oh, I need help with that,'" Hines says.
Sam says the mature approach of his son alleviates stress for his parents, a stark contrast from July 12 when he, Cindy and their two daughters drove to Parkview
"You can't even explain it. It was two hours, but it was like half a lifetime," Sam says. "It was quiet. Your mind's going a million miles an hour, and you don't know what to think or say."
Their minds raced another million miles when the Parkview medical staff shared their diagnosis, a diagnosis that changed as Hines recovered better than expected.
"They told us he had a 10 percent chance to ever walk, and when we say walk we mean go from a wheelchair to the bathroom," Sam recalls. "He just wasn't going to buy that. About a month later they saw how he progressed and a therapist talked to him about a wheelchair basketball league in Fort Wayne. Shane said he wasn't interested. He said, 'I don't want to get comfortable in this thing. I'm not going to be here forever.'"
Past provides motivation
Hines relied on a wheelchair for transportation at school for three months until Christmas break. He returned from the holidays in a walker with wheels. Hines prefers the easement of moving around in the walker. He rolls around faster in his walker than the average student strolls through the hallways.
He returned to school in October after private tutoring sessions for four weeks. Three Monroe Central teachers -- Molly Huffman, Scott Jones and Sarah VanPelt -- rotated trips to his house. A National Honor Society student, Hines rewarded their efforts with a honor-roll report card.
Classmates rolled out the red carpet for his return to school.
"Everyone was talking to me. People I didn't even know, knew me," Hines says.
Hines says the celebrity treatment subsided after a couple weeks back at school. He prefers to be treated the same as everyone else, though his condition prevents that from always happening. He relies on friends for motor transportation and whenever Monroe Central plays an away game, a teammate picks him up and carries him on the bus.
Whenever his physical limitations trigger self-pity, Hines drifts down memory lane and inevitably snaps out of his funk.
"Some days if I just think about what I used to be able to do," Hines says, "that's all the motivation I need."