After a three-day, 30-mile hike, he started feeling flulike signs, which continued to worsen over the following 16 hours. Purple blotches appeared on his stomach, indicating blood clots. All had been signs of meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial an infection that causes swelling of the protecting membranes that cowl the mind and spinal wire.

As much as one in 5 individuals who survive meningitis could undergo amputations, deafness, and mind and kidney harm; 10 to 15 % die, even with speedy therapy, according to the National Meningitis Association.

Springer was despatched to a hospital in Pittsfield, Mass., then was shortly airlifted to a different in Springfield, the place his organs started to fail and his blood stress fell to nearly zero. He was given a 10 % likelihood of survival.

He was transferred to a hospital in Manhattan, the place, whereas he was in a medically induced coma that might final eight weeks, he underwent the amputations.

After awakening, based on the 2003 New York Occasions article, he informed his father: “Dad, I don’t assume I’ve any fingers. I feel I find out about my legs, too.” Mr. Springer recalled: “My spouse and I checked out one another and stated, ‘That is our new regular.’ As a result of Nick is alive. He’s nonetheless Nick.”

Springer declined to put on prosthetics or use an electrical wheelchair. And he performed wheelchair rugby relentlessly.

“At a really excessive stage, it may be actually violent, and that’s what folks like about it,” his good friend Scott Hogsett stated. “Who doesn’t need to watch two folks crash in wheelchairs as onerous as you’ll be able to?”

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