Watch the video of the man.
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Will Fraser-Gray is a talented sportsman from Galgate, Lancaster, who even won a scholarship to play at Emmanuel College in Georgia. But the 20-year-old’s promising future almost came to an end when he figured in a near-fatal car crash in Georgia, USA, while on the way home from celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday.
Will wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time and the crash left him with broken ribs, a major head injury, a punctured lung, and a fractured neck. However, he miraculously recovered from the accident and returned to the UK to reunite with his family.
Now back in the US, Will is determined to pick up where he left off even if he needs to wear a special helmet and hasn’t fully healed from his injuries.
He said: “After the crash, I woke up a week and 10 days later and I remember looking over and seeing my mom and dad and quickly realizing it must be bad if they’d had to fly out.
“The doctors had taken half my skull out to relieve the pressure on my brain, I had a fracture and a ruptured ligament in my neck, a punctured lung, broken ribs, a lacerated liver, and damaged spleen.
“They told me I’d never be able to play soccer again without protective headgear, but as soon as I heard I could even play again it motivated me so much.
“Soccer is pretty much my life, I don’t even entertain the idea that somebody would be able to take that ability away from me.
“I was in a pretty horrific crash, but hearing the doctors say I was going to be able to play again was the best thing in the world.
“It’s about proving people wrong.
“I’ll need to wear a special helmet all the time when I’m playing because if I did get a knock to the head it would probably be catastrophic, especially while the skull hasn’t fully healed as I can’t have any contact.
“Even in the long run, I am now more susceptible to a severe concussion.”
The young player was rushed to Piedmont Hospital in Athens, Georgia, following the crash but was transferred to The Shepherd Center, a special brain and spinal cord injury unit, when he started to recover.
In one video, Will can be seen learning how to walk again and amazingly, even dribbling a soccer in the ward.
Even though the long-term effects of his brain injury are not yet known, Will flew back to Georgia to continue his scholarship.
WIll said: “After 10 days I was fully cognitive again but I had to be lifted out of the bed because I was so weak and had to use a frame to be able to start walking again.
“At first I was frustrated but I met so many amazing people with different stories at the Shepherd Center, and soon you realize no matter how bad you think you have it, somebody else has it much worse.
“I have been pushing myself every single day in the gym to get my fitness back because when I can play again next season I want to smash it and do my best.
“If I can come back from this and play soccer again, then what else can I achieve?”
Will’s mom, Amanda, 46, is not as enthusiastic but didn’t get in the way of Will’s dream. She learned about the accident on Mother’s Day and immediately flew to the US unsure if she would be ‘bringing him home in a box.’
She said: “As a mom you want to wrap them up in cotton wool but he’s 20, he’s got his life to live and really he has been given his life to live so if he wants to carry on playing soccer we have to let him and just pray that he will be OK.”