AU Campus rallies around Nick Bapst

Noah Cloonan

On Oct. 25 the Ashland University men’s basketball team experienced a scare when junior guard, Nick Bapst collapsed on the bench while at a scrimmage at the University of Findlay.

Bapst was immediately rushed to the hospital and it was determined that he had experienced cardiac arrest.

He was life flighted to the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital in Columbus where he was placed in the ICU and put into a medically induced coma. Upon coming out of the induced coma, Bapst contracted pneumonia due to the fluid in his lungs, but doctors said that this is nothing out of the ordinary.

Bapst is currently still at the hospital, but his friend and teammate, Jay Slone said spirits are high both on the team and as a medical staff that Bapst is slowing showing improvements.

“It got to the point where he was getting so many visitors that they had to take him and put him in a room that no one knew the room number of, and only his parents were allowed to know because he knows so many people, it’s unbelievable,” Slone said.

Back on campus, students have shown an outpour of love, support and prayers, all focused in the direction of Bapst.

Slone said that the support has come from fellow athletes, professors and even those who have never met Bapst.

“People who maybe have never even talked to him are affected by it because he is just such a good person,” Slone said. “It just shows how powerful something like this can be.”

Bapst is heavily involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Slone said that during this time members of FCA have truly rallied around Bapst.

“We went to FCA and we had a whole sermon on basically relating it to him and everybody broke off into groups and we all prayed for him and I think he felt that,” Slone said. “You know that was the first FCA [Nick] has missed in probably three years, you know, and I think it was just special because I know missing that was probably hard for him.”

Beyond FCA, Bapst has received support from many other of the athletic teams at AU.

Just two days after the fact, the women’s soccer team took the field against Tiffin.

The women took a black marker and wrote the phrase “NB Strong” on their wrists.

The next day the volleyball and football teams followed suit as they wrapped their wrists in white tape and wrote down the same phrase.

On Oct. 29 the women’s basketball team took the floor for the first time of the season in Columbus and their thoughts were with Bapst.

The team showed their support for their fellow basketball player by tapping white tape across the back of their shoes with “NB Strong” written on them.

“I think that everyone is concerned, I mean he is a big part of the men’s team, we all have that bond with him,” senior Laina Snyder said. “I know I’m texting people on the men’s team everyday asking how he’s doing, what’s the update. I feel like it’s brought our campus close together and made everybody realize how close we really are.”

Bapst’s impact has not just been on fellow athletes but it has spread through the classroom.

“The professors have been super understanding about the whole situation,” Slone said. “Like even professors I know that don’t know Nick have emailed me just telling me to keep my head up.”

Slone said that despite the outpouring of love from everyone in the community, there are still times where the men’s team has struggled to carry on.

“People are still hurt, you can see it. Some times are worse than others but seeing that he is doing better is helping us,” Slone said. “At first I didn’t want to go practice, but how am I supposed to complain about going to practice and just quitting on that when he is fighting for his life.”

Senior Wendell Davis said that not having Bapst has been difficult for the team to work through but said that the team is continuing to work through it.

“With me having me ACL injury, I learned that adversity will kick in and it’s about what you do once adversity happens and we faced adversity with Nick going down and we as a group came together and that’s why I say family. It hurt a lot of us and it deeply hurt a lot of us but we learned that in that moment that basketball was the smallest thing because someone’s life was at stake.”

Slone said that he is amazed at the amount of impact Nick is leaving on the community as he continues to fight.

“I already think that he has touched a bunch of lives as it and I think this just shows you that as bad as it is, God picked the right person for this battle because no one would go through it as strong as Nick,” Slone said. “He is so strong in his faith and I really believe that he picked Nick just to prove to everyone else why you need to be strong in your faith.”

As Bapst continues his recovery, Slone and the rest of the team continue to do the only thing they can do: Pray.

“I really believe that the power of prayer helped him to get through that night. I really believe that God had his hand on him that night and all of us praying, I really think saved his life,” he said.