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A Pi-Eta Club initiate is paralyzed from the neck down after an accident in the clubhouse following the club's yearly initiation ceremonies Tuesday night.
Sources said yesterday that Paul R. Callahan '80, president of the A.D. Club, was wrestling with a few friends at the Mt. Auburn St. club when he slipped and fell on a wet floor.
Callahan is listed in "seriously ill and stable" condition at the spinal lesion center of the West Roxbury V.A. Hospital, a hospital spokesman, who refused to comment further, said yesterday.
Sources said yesterday Callahan has a 50-50 chance of total recovery from paralysis, adding that he has regained some feeling in his arms.
University police, responding to a call from the Pi-Eta club, sent for an ambulance at 12:22 a.m. Wednesday. Sources said the clubhouse was "in a shambles," with beer and food on the floor.
"We put him in a surgical collar, applied traction to the head, secured him to a spineboard, put sand bags by the head, and drove him at five miles per hour to Cambridge City Hospital, Chester Eskholm, owner of Professional Ambulance Service, said yesterday.
Callahan was transported to West Roxbury Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for Cambridge City Hospital said.
University officials including Saul L. Chafin, chief of University police, and Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, yesterday refused to discuss the case, citing privacy laws.
However, Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, said Harvard would not be legally responsible for an accident that occurred in a building not operated and maintained by the University. The Pi-Eta Club is a privately owned fraternity.
The Naked Truth
Club members said yesterday the accident happened after the initiation ceremony. Each year, club initiates run naked from the clubhouse to Lamont Library, check out a book, run to Nini's Corner to buy a candy bar, and head back down Mt. Auburn St. to the clubhouse.
Sources said Cambridge police asked the University police to get the streakers back into the building at about 11 p.m. University reported no incident during the run.
The accident "could have happened in my living room, Frank D. Bruno '80, a member of the Pi-Eta club said yesterday. Bruno, who visited the hospital Wednesday, said Callahan is "in a good frame of mind."
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