James Vollmer, an outstanding Jamestown College athlete, was paralyzed in a pole-vaulting accident on December 1st. He missed the mat and severed his spinal cord, leaving him with “just a 5 percent chance of walking again.” He’s currently in a 12 week program at The Craig Institute in Denver, which is known for its specialization in brain and spinal cord injuries.
Although Vollmer’s doctors report only a slim chance of full recovery, some people are still holding on to hope. One of his coaches, Bud Etzold said, “James is one of those guys that someday I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him in the Boston Marathon in one of those wheelchair deals. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him beat the odds and be on his feet one day, either. James Vollmer is one of those kids you wouldn’t ever bet against.” Either way, it sounds like no one expects to see Vollmer give up. As it is, he’s scheduled to finish his 12-week program in Denver two weeks early. Coach Ed Crawford describes Vollmer as driven, committed, positive and confident. Although he may face some serious obstacles, nothing will stop this multiple-sport athlete from moving forward.
All of Vollmer’s coaches describe him as the ultimate team player, doing whatever he can to help the team. Now Jamestown College is holding a benefit to help him. Among the many obstacles for Vollmer is going to be the financial impact of such a serious medical emergency. The benefit will be held on Thursday night at the Jamestown Civic Center and will attempt to alleviate the financial pressures facing him and his mother at this time. The Jimmies will be playing a double header against Valley City State’s basketball team.
Vollmer’s triumphant spirit shines through in his plans to return to college this fall. It comes as no surprise to his biggest fans that he plans on finishing the last two classes he needs for his radiology technology degree.