Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lindbergh Water Polo Players Determined to Play Best for Injured Captain

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lindbergh Water Polo Players Determined to Play Best for Injured Captain

Article excerpt

SAPPINGTON * The last time the Lindbergh water polo team saw Brad Bauer he was at the peak of his powers.

A senior utility player, Bauer scored three goals and handed out two assists as the Flyers dominated the field to capture the Mundelein Carmel Tournament in the suburbs of Chicago.

His teammates haven't seen him since.

Bauer and his family traveled to Mexico to enjoy the last few days of spring break. Bauer, a swimmer since he was 6, fractured two vertebrae while diving from the beach into the ocean.

Not cliff diving. Not flipping off the side of a mountain. Running into the water and diving in.

"It was a freak thing," Lindbergh water polo coach Andy Butler said.

Bauer underwent surgery while in Mexico. He returned to St. Louis last week and remains in the intensive care unit at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Every day is a new challenge. Most days Bauer's condition improves, even if just a bit. There have been a few scary days where he did not.

Bauer's accident has left the Lindbergh water polo program and the school shaken.

"Without being able to see him it hasn't really hit us what's happened," senior captain Casey Natsch said. "It's really surreal to all of us. We're floating through it. It's different."

Bauer is co-captain with Natsch.

An all-state second-team selection as a junior, Bauer's role was to provide what the Flyers had to have.

Need a goal? Bauer would go get it.

Need a stop? Bauer would make it happen.

Bauer was a key piece of the Lindbergh's back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Missouri Water Polo district tournament the past two seasons.

He scored 63 goals last season. He put up 12 goals in four games at Mundelein Carmel this season. Without him and the tragic circumstances behind his absence, the Flyers could have easily wilted.

Instead they have persevered.

"He was one of the better players on the team. It's made a lot of people step up," senior Ethan Schneider said.

"It's given us reason to fight. …

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