Student makes slow, steady recovery from injury

Ryan Bade's physical injuries have healed, but he struggles to regain consciousness.

Derrick Biney

Family and friends of Ryan Bade, a University student injured in a boat-jet ski accident on June 24, are hoping for a full recovery.

Bade, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, was moved July 5 to the Select Specialty Hospital, located in his hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D., to receive treatment for his injuries.

Bade’s left eye socket and right wrist were fractured, some of his ribs were cracked and he suffered a brain injury, which led to a coma.

Seven weeks after the accident, Bade’s mother, Karyl Meus, said her son has been making a slow, but steady, recovery.

She said Bade is at the near-coma level, a stage right before a patient regains consciousness. She said his physical injuries have healed, but they do not compare with the brain trauma.

Meus said doctors have been doing stimulating therapy to get him to wake up and become aware of his surroundings. Doctors told Meus that until Bade is out of the coma completely, it will be hard to tell how much damage was done. She said they told her “with brain injuries, it’s kind of a waiting game,” because healing takes time.

Meus said that when she heard about her son’s accident, she thought it was “unbelievable.”

Meus said she lost her husband and her mother 11 months before her son’s accident. During the period of her loss, she said she thought “there was no way my life could ever get worse,” but later found it could.

Amelious Whyte, Phi Gamma Delta’s academic adviser, said he remains hopeful for Bade and said he hasn’t heard anything to indicate Bade would not be able to recover.

Liz Langhans, Bade’s girlfriend, said she talks to his mother or his sister every day because the distance between the University and Sioux Falls prevents her from being with him.

She said the last time she saw Bade was two weeks ago. Bade’s family members all went home, and she stayed a few extra hours by his bedside.

On her visit, Langhans said, while she was holding Bade’s hand she asked him, “Do you still love me?” and Bade squeezed her hand in response. Shocked that he responded, she asked, “Well, how much?” and Bade squeezed her hand even harder.

“I personally would like to believe that’s not a coincidence,” Langhans said.

Kit Myers, one of Bade’s close friends and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brother, said he checks Bade’s status through a Web site called CaringBridge that keeps a journal on Ryan’s condition. The Web site, created by Bade’s brother-in-law, has had more than 15,000 hits since its inception.

Myers said Bade is a funny, loving, charismatic person who everyone gravitates toward.

Meus said Bade’s fraternity brothers are a very loyal, caring, supportive group. She said when Bade was in St. Cloud, Minn., they visited him and the family as often as they could to offer support and comfort.

Meus said Bade’s family has faith that God is ever-present with them through the people who come to visit Bade at the hospital and the cards and e-mails the families receive.

“We are optimistic that one day he will be the guy we know and love. That’s what we are hoping and praying for,” Meus said. “We are going to sit back and watch the miracle unfold.”