Circle of support grows for ex-Shocker Carl Hall, injured in crash

06/30/2010 5:56 AM

06/30/2010 5:56 AM

Friends and teammates of Carl Hall are rallying support for the former Wichita State University baseball star, who is paralyzed from the neck down after a weekend crash in Kingman County.

Hall, 39, remains in critical condition at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis after undergoing neck and spinal cord surgery on Sunday.

"It was badly damaged, but it was not severed," said Hall's brother, Gary. "He's got some feeling in his upper chest area for sure.

"It's day-to-day. It's really early."

Carl Hall, who starred on some of the strongest Shocker baseball teams in school history and was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 1994, was a passenger in the family Suburban heading to a youth sports tournament in Norwich on Saturday morning, his brothers said.

His 15-year-old daughter was driving with the cruise control on, other passengers in the vehicle told Gary Hall. When she touched the brakes to disengage the cruise, the engine accelerated instead and she lost control.

The Suburban overturned about five miles west of Norwich on K-42, landing hard and crumpling the roof on the front passenger side.

Kingman County Sheriff Randy Hill said the crash remains under investigation. Authorities plan to closely inspect the Suburban, he said.

The crash occurred four days after Carl Hall was laid off as a pharmaceutical sales representative as part of a companywide downsizing.

"We're in the process of trying to figure out what benefits are available and what aren't," Gary Hall said.

Meanwhile, Carl Hall's Shocker, church and school families are rallying to his aid.

A youth baseball tournament will be held in Derby on July 17. The event will include a barbecue and auction of sports memorabilia, Gary Hall said.

A prayer service will be held at 8 p.m. today at St. Peter Catholic Church in Schulte, the Hall family's home parish.

Bishop Carroll High School president Leticia Nielsen said school administrators are monitoring the situation and will look for ways to provide long-term support for Carl Hall and his family. His oldest daughter will be a sophomore at the school this fall.

"We're going to wait... and see what their needs are," Nielsen said.

Shocker players who played with Hall are trying to collect sports memorabilia that could be auctioned off to raise money for the family.

"I don't know if anybody understands how great he was," Gary Hall said of his brother, who also earned All-America honors his senior year.

Over the past few days, he said, a steady stream of visitors have come to visit — and tell stories.

"There are people from 20 years ago that say, 'Hey, I think about him every week,' " Gary Hall said.

"There are literally hundreds of people doing that. He's just as good a guy as you're ever going to find."

The Hall family is grateful for even the smallest signs of improvement, Gary Hall said.

His brother's spirits are remarkably good, Gary Hall said. Having feeling in his chest means a lot to his brother.

"... Even if he can't wrap his arms around his kids, they can put their head on his chest and he'd know they're there," Gary Hall said.

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