A water polo captain at a St. Louis school shocked his classmates Tuesday night by walking across the stage to receive his diploma at graduation.
Lindbergh (St. Louis, Mo.) senior Brad Bauer suffered serious spinal injuries during a spring break trip when he dove into water without realizing a sandbar was underneath, as St. Louis’ KTVI reports.
“As a team we thought, oh no, this is the end,” Bauer’s teammate, Casey Natsch, told KTVI. “But we rallied around him.”
Bauer provided quite the pleasant shock to those in attendance at the school’s commencement ceremony. He arrived for graduation in a wheelchair, but then received a standing ovation when he stood for his diploma.
His teammates were not among those who were surprised, though.
“If he wants to do it, he’s going to do it,” teammate Ethan Schnieder told KTVI.
The entire Lindbergh community rallied around Bauer, selling t-shirts and wristbands to help with medical expenses.
Bauer’s coach gave his captain a big hug Tuesday.
“I always tell them life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% about how you deal with it,” Lindbergh coach Andy Butler told KTVI. “And that’s a lot of what this year was for us.”
While acknowledging how much the support has meant, Bauer said walking across the stage was the only manner in which he was going to receive his diploma.
His resilience knew no bounds.
“I’ve got to get up,” said Bauer, who is still rehabbing. “I’ve got to get to where I was and that’s how it’s got to be.”
You can see why Bauer was elected team captain.