Kid Captain prevails after accident


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When she grows up, Maree Scholl may want to be an otolaryngologist — an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

At 11-years-old, Maree, this week’s Kid Captain, has had more experience with otolaryngology than most, something that got her thinking about making it a part of her future.

“After she left the hospital, it did pique an interest in her,” said Stephanie Scholl, Maree’s mother. “Seeing all the doctors and becoming more familiar with the whole hospital scene, that was one of the good things that came out of it. It opened up a whole new world with her.”

A little over a year ago, Maree was playing on a playground near her house when a heavy wooden pole fell from the top of the swing set and struck her in the head.

Maree, however, was lucky.

After the accident, doctors found the only serious damage was some moderate hearing loss — approximately 30 percent — in one ear.

“She was really less than 1 or 2 millimeters away from causing more damage,” said Marlan Hansen, a University of Iowa professor of otolaryngology. “It could have been devastating, but fortunately, it turned out very well.”

A few months later, Maree returned to the hospital for ear surgery to reconstruct the inner part of her ear.

Now, she will be the Kid Captains for this week’s football game against Minnesota with almost perfect hearing. 

The Kid Captain program highlights the stories of pediatric patients at the UI Children’s Hospital while introducing them on the field during home football games, along with inviting them to Kids Day at Kinnick Stadium in August for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Scholl said nominating Maree for Kid Captain happened on a whim, but has been a great experience for the entire family.

“It was neat to be down on the field and watch the football players … it was a neat experience,” she said. “We have some more Hawkeye fans in the family now because of it.”

Scholl said Maree has been quiet about being nominated but at the same time as appreciative.

This is something Keely Weiner, a family friend and counselor at Maree’s school, said she notices in the Mason City girl all the time — especially since the accident.

“Not that she wasn’t appreciative [before,] but she is so grateful and thankful,” she said. “I think she’s just learning from that experience and she’s moving forward and being positive.”

Weiner said she doesn’t ever see Maree feeling sorry for herself.

“It’s not like she wants a pat on the back, necessarily … she’s just a very appreciative and kind person,” she said. “I mean, she already was, its just a little more now, too. I just feel she’s really grown from it.”

Through the experience, the Scholl family realized what’s important in life.

“You get caught up in everyday things, but it made us step back and realize, you know, we have our family,” Scholl said. “And it was difficult to go through, but it’s made her and her siblings more aware of how important they are to each other.”


In the Nov. 7 story “Kid Captain prevails after accident,” the story states that “After the accident, doctors found the only serious damage was some moderate hearing loss — approximately 30 percent — in one ear.” While Maree did suffer from hearing loss, she also suffered from four skull fractures. One of these fractures was only millimeters from her carotid artery — a major artery that sends blood from the heart to the brain. Maree spent the following week in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The DI regrets the error.

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