High school athlete recovers from 30-foot fall from zipline

Nick Anglin
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Four Indiana student-athletes will receive comeback awards Thursday night at the Brady Sports Achievement Awards.

The group includes a northern Indiana runner who survived a 30-foot fall.

"I guess I was a little sour and cynical before at times," said Nick Anglin, a senior at the Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. "And now, I'm very happy all the time."

He is also busy all the time.

"I would say there's nothing he can't do. Like, he's an athlete, he's in drama club, he's valedictorian. He's pretty well-rounded," said his friend, Jackie Esparza.

Nick is also an Eagle Scout, which took him to Ransburg Scout Reservation in Bloomington as a counselor last summer. On August 1, he fell 30 feet in a zipline accident.

"I heard and felt something snap and I thought, 'Oh, that's not good!' There was a second of sheer terror and then I blacked out," Anglin said.

He has a long scar from his repaired right arm. But more serious was his bulging, descending aorta. The largest artery in his body was nearly torn open when Nick hit the ground.

"They cut from around here to behind the left shoulder blade and spread the ribs a little bit and collapsed my left lung, then cut into my heart and inserted the polyester tube," Anglin said.

"The fact that he's still alive is the crazy part. That he was able to survive a 30-foot fall and the things he went through," said cross country coach Karl Repay.

Repay never expected Nick to run last fall, but his teammates did.

"I was not amazed at all. Coming from Nick, this is what we expect from him, because he's so outstanding," said Sal Cordova.

Anglin returned to cross country by mid-September. He could not match his times from his junior season, but he provided inspiration.

"When you're running in a race and you think that you have some kind of pain or anything, you just think back, he just came back from a major fall, something catastrophic, so it really made your complaints sound kind of like minuscule," said Sam Sapyta.

"It was more of sort of spiritual victory for me that I had overcome the mental discouragement and kept on doing it, even though I didn't get back to where I wanted to," Anglin said.

His life plays to a slightly different tune now.

"I'm enjoying life a lot more and realizing how everyday is a little miracle," he said.

Anglin will graduate soon, but says he might come back to teach at his high school. He's also going back to camp this summer and back on the zipline.