Local News

Recovery progressing for Clayton man severely injured in Spain

Posted September 16, 2011

— Seven weeks ago, Cory Harrison landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in a coma and on life-support.

The 21-year-old Clayton resident suffered massive head trauma in a fall three months ago while he was working in Spain.

"When we left Spain, the doctors told us that he probably would not come out of his coma," Harrison's mother, Karon Harrison, said Friday. "The options were if he got some kind of infection to not treat it." 

After arriving at WakeMed, Cory Harrison came out of the coma. Now, his feeding and breathing tubes are also gone.

Karon Harrison said her son has been improving, but he gets frustrated sometimes when trying to communicate with them. 

"We aren’t to the point where he can do symbols to show us what he wants yet," she said. 

The frustration sometimes brings Cory Harrison to tears. 

Follow Cory Harrison's progress on Facebook

He also wants to walk – a desire that helped earn him the nickname "Houdini." Karon Harrison said her son escaped from a specialized tent bed meant to contain patients who aren't supposed to be mobile yet. 

As early as next week, Cory Harrison is set to move from the brain trauma unit to the rehab center, where he can focus more on communication and physical therapy. 

"I don't know if they'll ever have the old Cory back, but we have new Cory. We'll take what we can get," Karon Harrison said. 

His recovery has been a team effort. His parents and 10 siblings – eight of whom are adopted like him – visit for Sunday brunches on the hospital patio. Even the family's dog, Maddy, visits. 

Karon Harrison also credits the community's support with helping her son recover.

cory harrison Clayton man recovering after fall

His church, First Baptist Church in Smithfield, is selling T-shirts that read "Pray for Cory."

"I think what has had to do with it is so many people praying for him – cause God can work miracles," she said. 

The community also helped bring Cory Harrison home from Spain.

The family's insurance company refused to pay to fly him home. After a Facebook campaign, an anonymous donor came forward with a check that more than covered the cost of his trip, which was estimated to run up to $80,000.


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  • venitapeyton Sep 16, 2011

    Reading of his family's absolute loyalty to his safe return and healing has been really inspiring. And YES we Thank God for the amazing 'anonymous' donor!!!!

  • The Carolina Sweetheart Sep 16, 2011

    PRAISE GOD! Continue to get better Cory, You have an entire community of people wishing you well! You are our living proof that God is still in control and that He still works Miracles! You are an inspiration to us all! Wishing you the very best! I will continue to pray for your speedy recovery.

  • luckyladybug238 Sep 16, 2011

    Get well Cory! So glad to know that he is improving! Having been a patient in the WakeMed Neuro ICU, I can attest to their level of care and expertise. Their doctors and staff are simply the best you could ask for. Prayers for Cory's continued improvements and strength for his family. Blessings to ALL who donated what they could afford to, but especially to the anonymous donor who gave so generously. :)

  • eccgc Sep 16, 2011

    Awesome, Cory! God has a plan for your life -- a plan to prosper you and not to harm you!

  • topkat1258two Sep 16, 2011

    What a great story. I'm sorry he was injured but to be making such a good recovery is remarkable. Keep it up, Cory!

    And to the donor who made his trip home possible, you are truly an angel! Thank you on his behalf!

  • 007KnightRider Sep 16, 2011

    Get well Cory! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • computer trainer Sep 16, 2011

    This is from the original story in July: Gary Harrison said his son Cory Harrison, 21, was trying to climb up the second-floor balcony of the youth hostel he was staying at after getting locked out. He fell and suffered massive head trauma.

    I think that it was the insurance company of his father's work that would not fly him home.

    That donor should wake up daily with a huge smile. They probably saved this young man's life.

    Hospitals in Spain are a joke. They allow smoking in ALL of them. You can barely see across a clinic. I have seen Drs bend over a patient, with a lit cig in their hand.

    So glad that this young man is home and doing so well.

  • 2323 Sep 16, 2011

    Great news!!

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Sep 16, 2011

    Phrost - "I wish they'd tell us what scumbag company he was working for that refused to send him home."

    The insurance company refused to pay for his medical travel home.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Sep 16, 2011

    cghsmom - "Workmen's comp should have flew him home."

    Was he working for a US company? Or a Spanish one. Don't know if they have WC in Spain.