U student injured in Jet Ski accident

Phi Gamma Delta member Ryan Bade is in a coma following the boating accident.

Derrick Biney

Family and friends hope for a strong recovery for Ryan Bade, a University student injured in a boating accident June 24.

On June 23, Bade, his close friend Collin Solberg and Solberg’s friend Patrick Freeman went to Solberg’s family’s cabin in Spicer, Minn., to hang out for the weekend, Solberg said.

The next day, the three young men decided to go to a public beach near Green Lake, Solberg said, to relax as they waited for more of their friends to arrive for the weekend.

Freeman and Solberg were riding in a boat along the lake while Bade drove a Jet Ski, and the two accidentally collided, Solberg said.

After the collision, Solberg said he and Freeman called 911, and paramedics airlifted Bade to St. Cloud Hospital.

Reactions to accident

Liz Langhans, Bade’s girlfriend, said she thought the incident was a “big joke” when Solberg called and informed her about the accident.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” she said. “I kind of felt my body go numb and it finally sunk in that his friend was not joking around.”

Langhans said she was the first person to see Bade in the hospital after he was transported to St. Cloud, Minn. She said she had no idea what to expect about Bade’s condition.

“When I first went into the hospital, they did not tell me his condition because I was not a family member,” Langhans said.

Bade’s right wrist and left eye socket are fractured, some of his ribs are cracked and he has a severe brain injury that led to a coma, Langhans said.

Kit Meyers, one of Bade’s close friends and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brother, said he was attending a wedding in Iowa when Solberg called and told him about the accident, leaving him in shock.

“I debate within myself for a few hours thinking, ‘Oh my god what should I do?’ But then I eventually decided that I was not going to do the phone thing,” Meyers said.

When Meyers arrived at the hospital to see Bade, he said, he immediately started crying when he saw Bade’s condition.

“It was a shock to see him lying there. I’m used to seeing him jumping and bouncing around,” Meyers said. “He’s the kind of guy other people gravitate toward. You never know what’s going to happen with that kid.”

Langhans said Bade’s coma is not as deep as it was before, and he was flown from St. Cloud to Sioux Falls, S.D, where his family is from, on Tuesday.

“Ryan is getting better; everyone is really positive and hopeful that he will make a strong recovery,” Langhans said.

Support for Ryan

Since the night of the accident, Bade’s family has been by his side watching and caring for him while members of his fraternity visit him as often as they can, Amelious Whyte, Phi Gamma Delta’s academic adviser, said.

A Web site created by Bade’s brother-in-law keeps a daily journal of Bade’s status, Whyte said. Since its creation, more than 4,000 people have visited the site.

Approximately 35 people, mostly friends of Bade’s, attended an event called Rally for Ryan to show their support, Whyte said.

“The event was intended to bring people together who were concerned about Bade, to see what we could do to help his family out,” Whyte said.

Attendees of the rally talked about Bade’s condition while they shared funny stories about him, Whyte said.

“Ryan is going to get better; we just have to stay positive. He’s going to be back like we know him,” Whyte said.

Bade’s fraternity is organizing a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser for him from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday at 1129 University Ave. S.E.