KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even if he still can’t feel his hand, Michael Tysver still wants Cody Clark to feel the noise.
So he’ll stick one bud in his ear and the other in Cody’s. Then he’ll turn on the player and crank it up, just like old times, good times, when they’d sit in the car and sing along at the top of their lungs.
“A bunch of different songs,” Tysver says. “The big one I probably play a lot is ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train. He really likes that song. We’ll play usually Luke Bryan, Kanye West, Kenny Chesney. Yeah, I’ll play a bunch of songs we used to listen to a lot.”
And what does he do?
“Nothing,” Tysver says softly.
Not a thing?
“There are times where I start playing it, and he opens his eyes real big. And there have been times when he’ll move his eyes around. To me, I feel like he can hear the music.”
But, as of yet, Clark — one of two Kansas State fans injured in a traffic accident at Scottsdale, Ariz., just a few hours after the Wildcats’ Fiesta Bowl loss to Oregon — has yet to truly respond in kind.
“It’s not necessarily where we’d hoped,” Ashley Clanton, Clark’s sister, tells FOXSportsKansasCity.com.
“We figured a couple of weeks, originally, he would be in the coma. And after the first few months, we realized it was probably going to (take) a lot (longer) than we’d originally thought. Everyone wants him back, obviously, and we’re trying to be patient. … I feel the battle really is going to start with when he wakes up.”
On the plus side, he won’t be fighting alone. Tysver, who was riding in a pedicab in Scottsdale with Clark on Jan. 4 when it was rear-ended by a sedan, was the other K-State fan injured in the accident. Tysver suffered serious injuries but has made a strong recovery and plans on returning to Barton (Kan.) Community College next month.
“Things are about as normal as they’re going to get,” says Tysver, whose skull detached from his spine during the collision. And normal is relative — while he has full mobility and is even back playing basketball and softball, he can’t fully move his neck to the left or the right.
Both young men, natives of Great Bend, Kan., were thrown from the pedicab, a rickshaw pulled by a cycle. Tysver went through the sedan’s windshield; Clark struck his head on the A-bar, or frame, of the windshield.
While Cody’s condition would gradually improve and stabilize in the months to follow — he was transferred from Arizona to Gardner, Kan., in June — he technically remains comatose.
“We just don’t know; we’ve heard so many things,” Clanton says. “No one can say for sure … everyone’s brain is different.”
But even a slow road is better that than no road at all. The family is trying to make sure someone is almost always there, alternating in shifts. It’s a four-hour drive from Great Bend, and roughly a two-hour drive for Ashley from Manhattan.
“He’s active but he’s not responsive,” says Clanton, who’s returning to Kansas State in the fall after taking time off to be with Cody in greater Phoenix.
“It’s really confusing, this scale of coma. If you walk around, there will be days he’ll watch you, and days he won’t. It just depends on how he’s doing.”
Some days, he’ll squeeze the stress ball that he’s given. Some days, Cody’s eyes dance to the tunes on Tysver’s playlist.
“He’s still fighting,” Tysver says. “So I think he’s going to get there.”
To donate to the Cody Clark Medical Fund, write to: Farmers Bank and Trust c/o Medical Fund for Cody Clark 1017 Harrison Street Great Bend, KS 67530
To donate to the Michael Tysver Expense Fund, write to: Credit Union of America c/o Michael Tysver Expense Fund 4708 W. 10th Street Great Bend, KS 67530
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com.