PELLA – The Pella Christian cross country team is having another great season, the Eagles are trying to make it back to state after ending a 14-year drought last year.

But one person is missing from the lineup this season, junior Ryan Natelborg.

On July 30th, just two days before practice started, Ryan and some friends were up in Wisconsin on vacation. While hanging out at the beach on Devil’s Lake, Ryan went to dive in the water, but that’s when everything went horribly wrong. Ryan hit his head on the sand, and all of a sudden couldn’t move, lying face down in the water.

Luckily, after almost two minutes he was picked up and pulled to shore by friends, teammates, and a nurse nearby. Ryan was alive, but still not able to move. He was taken to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but the result was a fractured C5 vertebra. Ryan was paralyzed.

Ryan has been rehabbing in Colorado for the past couple of months, and he now has some movement in his arms and hands. But the everyday process is about learning how to live with limited mobility.

His teammates have dedicated the season to him, and Ryan stays in contact on a daily basis with the team and coaches. His positive attitude and outlook are inspiring to anyone he comes in contact with.

John Sears has the entire story.