Mynhardt's medical and rehabilitation costs, including onetime expenses such as a $70,000 specially outfitted van, have already exceeded $1 million, Mynhardt said. The family has dipped into savings to pay costs not covered by the insurance settlements.
"Lee's health comes first," said his father, Louis Mynhardt.
Despite Mynhardt's misfortune, off-campus frat parties still dominate Elon's social scene. At midnight one recent Saturday, girls in short skirts and guys in tropical shirts braved the 44- degree temperature to gather at a house rented by members of one fraternity. Elon's student-run "Safe Ride" van ferried some guests to the door. The keg was out back and the dancing inside, with a strobe light pulsing.
Only members, friends and women were welcome, said a fraternity brother, beer cup in hand. Anyone else, he said, should find another party.
Mynhardt moved into a ranch house in Charlotte last year near Carolinas Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized before. He has friends nearby and an aide living with him full- time. Another visits part-time. Every morning, an aide sits him up in bed, moves him to his wheelchair, transports him to the shower, dresses him and helps with dozens of activities he can't do alone.
Seeking some measure of independence, Mynhardt is now in his first year at Charlotte School of Law. Unable to use his fingers, he takes notes with a stylus attached to his palm and a touch-pad computer.
"I believe a lot of positive things can come out of fraternities," he said. "But if they're not run correctly, things are going to get out of control."