In October of 2008, Chase Kear, a student at Hutchinson Community college suffered a serious head injury while pole vaulting during a routine practice. A member of the school’s track and field team Kear was air lifted, by helicopter to a Wichita Hospital.
The news his parents heard upon speaking with doctors, including neurosurgeon Raymond Grundmeyer – was devastating. They were told their son would not survive. Chase’s mother, Paula Kear said “We were told at least three or our times in those first two days that Chase wasn’t going to make it.”
However, he did.
In the days following the accident Grundmeyer and other specialists told the family that Chase’s skull
had been cracked from ear to ear. His brain was swelling. There was a very high chance that the surgery required to remove a broken skull piece would kill him. If it ,didn’t the infection that might follow would most likely
be the cause of death. That day, Chase’s auntie, Linda Wapelhorst asked for a priest at St. Francis
Chapel to perform the Catholic sacrament of anointing the sick (Formerly referred to as the last rites).
Today, Chase Kear is alive and recovering.
Grundmeyer, the Chase’s nuerosurgeon said in a brief email last week that he consider’s Chase Kear’s survival to be a miracle, and he’s not the only one to hold that opinion. Even the Vatican has been compelled to investigate the miraculous recovery of Chase Kear.
When news of Chase’s injuries reach family and friends, loved ones gathered together and prayedto Kansas Born Father Emil Kapuan for intercession. They even authored a prayer, that likely was said in the truest, purest of hearts hundreds of times. Their prayers were organized and consistant. Updates were made on webpages
and family members and friends visited Sacred Heart Church and Saint Francis’chapel, some to prayed for their injured loved others, many others to prayed to Father Kapuan for intercession, they were asking for a miracle.
According to Chase’s neurosurgeon, that is exactly what happened. Only a few weeks after Chase broke his skull, he walked out of a rehabilitation hospital, shaken but alive. Today, almost fully recovered Chase is working a summer job and plans to coach the pole-vaulters at the Hutchinson Community College, the
same place where he had accident. While Chase had said he misses vaulting, he’s also grateful to Grundmeyer,cthe neurosurgeon and to Father Kapaun.
Father Emil Kapuan was a priest and army Chaplain who died during the Korean War in May 23, 1951. An educated man, Father Kapuan’s army duties took him to India, Japan and South Korea among other places. He is reported to have administered to the dead and the dying. He heard first confessios, performed baptisms, and celebrated mass from a make shift alter that he had set up on the front end of a U.S army Jeep. Several jeeps were used in this process as enemy fire would often destroy his center of worship.
Both during and after the war, stories emerged of Father Kapuan. Some recounted, kindness, bravery, love and inspiration. Father Kapuan constantly defied orders not to indoctorinate soldiers, and stole food for those who needed it. He prevented the executions of wounded American soldiers who were too ill to walk.
Other soldiers felt they owed their lives to the Chaplain who kept their morales up and not once gave up on his Comrades. It was noted in an army report that Father Kapuan kept up with his religious duties despite an instance of frozen feet. It was also noted that on several occasions, Father Hapuan risked his life
under heavy mortar and shelling in order to rescue both the wounded and dying soldiers.
As it stands, Father Kapaun has been highly regarded by area Catholics. The Diocese have recieved other reports of miracles involving Father Kapaun, according to Rev. John Hotze, the Judicial Vicar for the Wichita diocese.
News of Chase’s amazing recovery has reached further than the United States. The vatican is sending Andrea Ambrosi to investigate whether or not a miracle has occured. On Sunday, June 29th, 2009, the process was opened which official begins the cause for Sainthoold for Father Emil Kapuan. If canonized, Father Kapuan would be one of only three American born Saints.
Ambrosi, a lawyer by training is arriving from Italy to Kansas. He hyas been reported as saying he is coming to thoroughly “and skeptically” investigare whether Chase’s stroy is a miracle. A miracle is required for the Catholic church to elevate an individual to Sainthool. He will be investigating three cases, all medical/illness related, one of which is that of the recovery of Chase Kear.
For the past eight years, Rev Hotze has researched into Kapuan’s proposed Sainthood. The Catholic church has also admitted to considering whether or not Father Kapuan should be made a Saint, a consideration they have held for over 20 years.
The church may well get it’s answers. Father Kapuan may well be canonized, but for Chase Kear’s family, Chase’s recovery is all they need to decide that they have truly witnessed a miracle.
To follow Chase’s step by step recovery, before the story hit press, you can
visit this Facebook Page dedicated to him;