Student Left Permanently Blind, Unable To Speak Or Walk After Taking Part In Hazing Trend

The family of a student left permanently blind and unable to speak or walk has issued an urgent warning against hazing.
Credit: Family Handout

The family of a student left permanently blind and unable to speak or walk has issued an urgent warning against hazing to others. 

The victim, Danny Santulli, endured severe brain damage as a consequence of a hazing in October 2021.

And now, his family have issued a stark warning in the hope this doesn’t happen to others.

Related Article: Woman Loses Both Her Legs And Almost Dies After Using Tampon Correctly

Related Article: Student Dies After Drinking ‘Dangerous’ Lemonade From Popular Fast Food Chain

Santulli was 19 when he suffered cardiac arrest after being forced to drink a 1.75-litre bottle of Tito’s vodka and force-fed beer through a tube at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house in October 2021, as reported by The Independent.

Santulli was coerced into consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, rendering him incapacitated – unable to see, speak, or walk.

Danny Santulli
Danny Santulli endured severe brain damage as a consequence of a hazing event in October 2021. Credit: Family Handout

The night of the horrific event was a pledge night. This is when students who have accepted bids to join a fraternity or sorority and have not yet been initiated participate in some kind of ritual to be formally accepted into the brother or sisterhood.

Harrowing footage from the night was played in court and showed freshman Santulli passed out on a sofa inside the frat house.

The lawsuit reveals that the house was supplied with ‘c**aine, m**ijuana and alcohol’ to make the night one they ‘wouldn’t forget’. Pledges were called ‘p*****s’ if they didn’t keep drinking the bottles of vodka strapped to their hands, according to documents.

The lawsuit further reads: “Making matters worse, during the pledging process, Danny had been ordered to climb inside of a trash can that had broken glass in it.”

Related Article: Heartbroken Parents Issue Urgent Warning After 13-Year-Old Daughter Dies From Chroming

Related Article: Football Players ‘Deliberately Put Peanuts In Severely Allergic Teammate’s Locker’ In Heartbreaking Incident

Santulli had been at the ‘beck and call’ of the boys in the fraternity for a month as part of the gruelling process to be accepted, and had reportedly complained to his sister two nights before the incident that he had ‘had enough’.

“He was sleep deprived, had to buy things for the fraternity brothers with his own money and was repeatedly ordered to clean the brothers’ rooms and bring food, alcohol and m**ijuana to them at all hours of the night,” the lawsuit reads, per Daily Mail.

Despite Santulli’s visible distress, no emergency assistance was summoned when he lost consciousness and exhibited signs of severe alcohol poisoning, with his blood alcohol content registering a staggering 0.486 – six times the legal limit.

After being rushed to the hospital, Santulli’s condition deteriorated rapidly, resulting in irreversible brain damage. He now necessitates constant care and has accrued medical expenses exceeding $2 million.

Danny Santulli
Danny Santulli’s family has issued an urgent warning to others. Credit: Family Handout

Santulli remains permanently disabled, blind, unable to communicate verbally, and reliant on a wheelchair for mobility, all stemming from the traumatic brain injuries inflicted during the ordeal.

One of the students involved in the incident, Ryan P. Delanty, has pleaded guilty and is facing six months of jail time, according to the Daily Mail. His sentencing is scheduled for May 24.

Delanty’s attorney, Stephanie Fortus, acknowledged the gravity of the situation, expressing her client’s satisfaction with the resolution that avoided a trial.

In the aftermath of the incident, the fraternity chapter was disbanded, and Santulli’s family pursued legal action, resulting in a settlement with the fraternity and its members.

In addition to Delanty, other fraternity members, including Samuel Gandhi and Alec Wetzler, faced legal repercussions, pleading guilty to their roles in the events of October 2021.

Thomas Shultz, another fraternity member, was also held accountable, pleading guilty to charges related to supplying alcohol to a minor. He received a 30-day jail sentence, probation, community service, and mandatory education programs on substance abuse.

Danny Santulli
Danny Santulli remains permanently disabled, blind, unable to communicate verbally, and reliant on a wheelchair for mobility. Credit: Family Handout

“Hazing is a form of initiation that occurs when new members enter certain social groups, most often characterised by degrading, humiliating, or dangerous tasks and behaviours. Hazing is typically associated with student organisations such as university fraternities and sororities,” per Brittanica.

The University of Missouri states that: “Hazing is opposed by all sororities and fraternities at UMKC and is not tolerated. UMKC and all national and international headquarters have strict anti-hazing policies that all chapters must adhere to.”

Now Santulli’s family have spoken out, warning others against the dangerous practice.

“It makes me sick to my stomach seeing the people involved that harmed Danny walking around campus, acting like they did nothing wrong,” Santulli’s sister Meredith said to ABC.

Daniel’s mum Mary Pat Santulli told the outlet: “Just the fact that they knew he was in distress and his lips were blue, and nobody called 911. It’s, like, I don’t know. I mean a six-year-old calls 911.

“He’ll need care for life. He’s still not talking or walking. He’s in a wheelchair. He lost his vision but he hears us, and he knows we’re there and we’ll just keep fighting, and we’re not gonna give up hope.”

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.