He was a high school star. Chase Sadler was an all-state athlete who led his Harmony Eagles to the playoffs in football and the state tournament in baseball. Now, five years later, Harmony is trying to take care of him.
"Chase was just from the get-go, one of those athletes who could always do everything, " former teammate Read Hogue said. "Whatever you wanted him to do, he could do."
Another teammate, Josh Barton, agreed. "If it was third and long, or you needed a big hit in baseball, the coaches could rely on him. Opposing teams knew where it was coming, and still couldn't stop him."
Sadler played baseball at Paris Junior College, then went to Stephen F. Austin. A checkup last year revealed a hereditary heart condition, the same one that took his mother when Chase was eleven. Chase had 60% heart blockage. He underwent an angioplasty, and his playing career, and that part of his life was over.
"You get to a point," Hogue said, "when you're into your prime, you're at a decent college, you're hitting well, and it's just taken away from you."
"That was his life," Barton said. "Since he was four or five years old, since tee ball, and being the baseball player that he was, it was devastating."
"He'd just eat, sleep, breathe baseball."
With medical bills and no athletic scholarship, Sadler left school to work in hopes of finishing his degree on his own. Last month, burglars threatened him outside his home at gunpoint, so when Sadler heard a noise outside late Monday night, he went to investigate. He tripped and the rifle he was carrying went off, shooting him in the arm. His life was saved, but the arm was amputated. His friends say even then, his fighting spirit inspired them.
Teammate Chad Halcumb remembers going to visit him in the hospital for the first time after the accident.
"When we got there, he was pretty much just telling us how it was going to go. It happened, he was going to go on with his life."
"He was really optimistic," Hogue agreed. "It surprised me, if it had been me, I don't think I'd want to talk to anybody. Chase is always want of those guys who just wants to overcome, and he will."
In Harmony, Chase is still a teammate. However they can help, they will.
"It's just sad to see one of your brothers have so many problems," Hogue said, "so anything I can do, I'm going to do."
"If there was something that needed to be done for me," Halcumb said, "I know I could rely on him."
"I'd do anything for that kid," Barton said, "just like I know he'd do anything for any of us."
Without medical insurance, Sadler faces huge medical bills for both major operations. He still says he wants to go back and finish his degree from SFA. His teammates say he will, and they'll do everything to support him.
They are classmates, friends, and brothers no matter what.
If you'd like to assist Sadler, you can contact Melinda Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.