Funeral held for paralyzed athlete Komosa

March 23, 2013 3:30:25 PM PDT
A crowd of 100 family and friends gathered at St. Thomas Becket in Mt. Prospect for the funeral of Rob Komosa, a former high school football player who was paralyzed in 1999.

The mass was held in both English and Polish and honored Komosa's positive spirit.

"He would minister me, he would welcome me, make me feel at ease. By the time I left I said, 'Hey he actually touched my heart, instead of me going there to help him,'" said Pastor Edward Panek.

"He was the sweetest nicest guy, he never complained, he was always happy. He was very true to his family he was very faithful," said Nancy Tafoya, one of Komosa's private nurses.

Komosa passed away last weekend at the age of 30 from pulmonary complications.

The former Rolling Meadows High School football player was paralyzed during practice when he was 17.

He beat the odds and lived more than 13 years after the accident. Komosa was determined to help others in similar situations and co-founded the Gridiron Alliance, a charity for injured athletes.

He inspired many, including friend Kenneth Jennings, who was confined to a wheelchair after he was hurt playing high school football in 1988.

Jennings attended the funeral.

"Just being around Rob, whether you're on your feet or not on your feet, Rob was an inspiration to everybody," said Jennings.