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Christensen reconnects with the game he loves the most

July 13, 2012

Surrounded by his teammates, Chad Christensen threw out the first pitch of the Mid-Nebraska Legion championship game Thursday night. It was the first time Christensen had returned back to Broken Bow since the accident. The game was postponed due to weather and is rescheduled for Monday at 7 p.m.

For the past two months or so, Broken Bow had been looking for a rainmaker.

At approxiametly 6:30 Thursday night, farmers crops and families yards received a much needed bath.

The most telling sign that there was a higher power that night, however, came when Chad Christensen stepped on the baseball field at Tomahawk Park.

Just as Christensen had done a week earlier at a Lincoln Saltdogs game, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the championship game that was postponed until Monday at 7 p.m.

"It's amazing," Christensen said. "It's a miracle. To throw that pitch, it felt like it was right to do."

Being on the field was a monumental step for Christensen, as just two weeks earlier, he was having to re-learn how to walk and how to talk as well as some of life's other most basic motions.

As Christensen was fighting for his life at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, it was baseball, along with countless prayers and endless support that pulled him through. When he was still technically unconscious in his hospital bed, Chad's father put a rubber baseball in his hand.

With his pitchers instinct, he rotated the ball and found the seams used to throw a fastball. Once Christensen was up and walking at the Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln, one of the first things he did with his arms was toss a baseball to his dad.

Baseball was important to Christensen before the accident, but after all he has been through, he has seen, firsthand what the game has given back to him.

"It's really important," Christensen said. "I'm really proud of my team and how far they have come. I wish I could have been here, but I listened to them every time they were on the radio and they won all of them pretty much."

After an experience like this, Christensen has learned a few simple life lessons.

"I wear my seatbelt now, automatically," Christensen said. "God has been with me and this has brought me closer to Him. I'm going to go to church now. I was going on Wednesdays, but now I'm going to go on Sundays too. The prayers have helped a lot."

Christensen doesn't remember the posters of prayer and support on the walls of the waiting room outside his hospital room in Kearney (he still struggles with memory loss that is slowly improving), but there is one person that does.

His mother, Cathy has shown her devotion to her son and has been by his side throughout the entire time.

"I've taken it a day at a time," Cathy said. "That's how you get through it. Everyday, Chad seemed to improve. We focused on his positive. He met all his two week goals in almost half the time. They are just amazed with his progress and how he is doing."

The first night, where doctors had to take a drill and operate on his brain to decrease the swelling, was the hardest.

"We prayed all the time," Cathy said. "We just kept praying and praying. We knew God was going to take care of us."

For the Christensen's, God has taken care of a lot for the family and the community of Broken Bow. Not long after Chad stepped on the field, the farmers crops and the families yards received a much needed bath.

Chad Christensen, surrounded in a circle by his teammates- the teammates that are so much a part of who he is- and being watched by the onlookers of the community that clung to the wire fence like he was some sort of movie star or celebrity, took the baseball in his hand, reared back and threw.

The pitch was a sign that he was a celebrity, only what the people that were lucky enough to witness that night wasn't an act.

It was living proof that miracles can happen. It was living proof that the game is still there for him and still loves him just as much as he still loves it- the game he almost lost.

"I'm just thankful to be alive," Chad said.

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