As investigations continue into a Kansas University fraternity accused of hazing violations, a freshman injured at a fraternity party has been moved from a hospital to a rehabilitation center.
Matt Fritzie, a freshman from Stilwell, was discharged from KU Hospital to a rehab facility on Monday, a hospital spokesman said.
The spokesman could not comment further on Fritzie’s condition, but a fellow Phi Gamma Delta pledge said Tuesday that Fritzie initially was paralyzed from the chest down after injuring himself when he jumped into a makeshift pool Sept. 17.
Chris Fellows, a freshman from Kansas City, Mo., left the fraternity after the incident, saying “greek life wasn’t for me,” adding that the incident didn’t really contribute much to his decision to leave.
He said he’d spoken with Fritzie and his family the night Fritzie was injured, but hadn’t heard from them since.
Fellows was at the party where Fritzie was injured, and said the entire fraternity had created a pool by lining up sandbags in a parking lot, putting a tarp inside, and filling it with water from a hose. Fellows, who said he is about 6 feet tall, couldn’t remember exactly how deep the pool was, but said it was certainly no taller than his shoulders.
He said the party was the fraternity’s “Island Party,” an annual event put on by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity chapters across the country. Fellows said that although alcohol was consumed at the event, he wasn’t drinking, and he didn’t see Fritzie drinking either. It would have been illegal and against university policy for either Fellows or Fritzie — both freshmen — to have consumed alcohol at the party.
Though the fraternity is under investigation for hazing, Fellows said he had never personally experienced anything that he would consider hazing, and he didn’t see or hear whether anyone had encouraged Fritzie to jump into the pool.
The university’s investigation into the fraternity continues, and a hearing on the issue could be scheduled for next week, said Todd Cohen, a university spokesman. The fraternity’s international organization is also investigating the incident.
Fellows said he left the party after Fritzie was flown by air ambulance to a hospital around 8 p.m. — Fellows followed him to the hospital — though he’d heard from friends that the party continued after Fritzie left.
“People started showing up and just didn’t know,” Fellows said.