INSPIRATION "I didn't think she was going to make it," Head Cross Country Coach, Wade Watkins said. Rebecca Trupp was a passenger in the second of three vans carrying cross country runners to a training camp in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. "A car coming in the southbound lane spun out and started tumbling towards us," explained Watkins, who was driving the first van. "I moved out of the way and then it came back and hit the second van." Watkins was the first on the scene of the Aug. 9 car accident that took the life of Head Cheer Coach Wendy Rice and two women in the SUV. Assistant Cross Country Coach, Sean Henning and Watkins got athletes out of the van through the back door and a broken, side window. The two coaches could not get to Trupp, Marisa Benson, Alicia Cantanese and Rice. "When I saw Rebecca in that car, it was the worst thing you can imagine," Watkins remembered. "I couldn't recognize her until I noticed her hair cut. She had just gotten a hair cut beforehand." Trupp was in extremely critical condition. She was airlifted to a hospital in Reno, Nev. and underwent several surgeries. "I suffered a traumatic brain injury, brain hematoma, eight inch scalp degloving to the back of my head which needed staples, fractured eye orbits and nose and stitches on my eyelids, lips and shoulder," Trupp said. "My leg was badly bruised and required staples as well. My front tooth was chipped and my front teeth got pushed in. There are so many injuries that I probably forgot something." The day of the accident, Trupp, a freshman, moved on campus and met her roommate. Her last memory before the accident was getting into the van after the team stopped for dinner. "I didn't really understand the situation for a couple of weeks," Trupp said. "When I did finally comprehend the severity of it all, I couldn't stop crying and kept asking questions, especially when Coach came to visit." President Ron Ellis and other staff members visited Trupp during her threeweek stay in the hospital. "Coach Watkins was very inspirational for me and cheered me on as I walked my laps around ICU," Trupp said.
In addition to the CBU community, Trupp and her family received support from friends and teachers of her alma mater, Martin Luther King High School. "Coach Peters, from King, came up for one day and brought a large suitcase filled with well wishes from cross country, track and band, as well as my neighbors," Trupp shared. Brad Peters coached Rebecca during her four years in high school cross country and track. "Rebecca was a real treasured part of the team. She modeled everything we want out of a cross country runner," Peters said. "She is full of integrity and very giving. She would organize shoe drives for homeless people and drive the shoes to L.A. herself." Trupp also participated in Project Lead the Way, a rigorous, four-year engineering program at MLK. Michael Martin, MLK engineering teacher and CBU alumnus, proudly displays Trupp's final project on the wall of his classroom. The project was created to assist the blind. "She stood out," Martin explained. "That project was one of the better projects that has ever been done in all the years I've been working with this program." Martin praised not only Trupp's work, but also her character. "She is not going to let things slow her down," Martin said. Trupp dedicates four to five days a week to physical, vestibular and cognitive therapies in addition to frequent doctors' appointments. "My life now revolves around my recovery," Trupp said. "This is the season but one day I will be able to get back onto the path that I had planned to start after high school." God's presence gives Trupp the strength to confront challenges. "I know that God is real," Trupp affirmed. "Although we can dream and plan our life out, God sometimes has other plans in store for us. Sometimes we just have to go with the flow. We don't always get the answers we want, but God provides us with what we need." Written by Nic Jessen
(Photo: Kenton Jacobsen // Design: Aaron Kim)
12/9/11 4:17 PM