Shortly after hearing word of the accident, Logan Paulsen and his buddies wanted a way to show public support for their friend. Someone suggested growing mustaches. Paulsen went one step further.
“Since my profession is so lenient on the dress code,” he told them. “I won’t shave or cut my hair until he can walk again.”
So he hasn’t, leaving him with long locks, lots of facial hair and a daily reminder of his former college teammate and roommate. Nick Ekbatani was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in mid-July (a cab in an oncoming lane hit him and he nearly died). Eventually he had to have part of his left leg amputated. Paulsen hasn’t been able to visit with him because of football. Ekbatani also suffered four fractures in his femur and incurred head trauma. Paulsen said Ekbatani, a former UCLA guard, isn’t feeling any ill effects from the head trauma, but the fractures are obviously still healing. Paulsen said they’re waiting for Ekbatani’s calf to atrophy so they can attach the prosthetic.
Friends started the Big Nick Fund to help offset the cost of his prosthetic and already have raised more than $60,000 (their goal was $50,000; his bills will approach $400,000). For Paulsen, he wanted to do something more than just donate. Hence the new growth.
“When I made that comment, it was a joke, but I liked how it reminded me of his struggles every day so I’ll see if I can put up with it for however long it takes,” Paulsen said. “Everyone has their own way of helping him out.”