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Community welcomes injured student athlete home

Posted December 22, 2010
Updated December 25, 2010

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— Friends, classmates and teammates of an injured high school football player welcomed him home Wednesday from more than two months of grueling rehabilitation.

Colt Brake, 16, suffered a spinal cord injury during a football game in October that paralyzed him from the neck down.

Approximately 200 people gathered at the Brake home Wednesday, cheering "Colt! Colt! Colt!" as the Rocky Mount Academy junior returned for the first time since his injury.

His teammates were happy to see him.

"We were all just shocked at what happened," said Daniel Felton, one of Colt's teammates. "We couldn't believe it, but we just had to get through it and know that he's going to be alright."

Deon Alston, another teammate, was eager to see Colt return.

"I hope to see Colt back in town, back in RMA with us, back in class every day," he said.

Brake crushed his C4 vertebra and fractured his C5 vertebra while attempting to  tackle a Parrott Academy player Oct. 8 . He is paralyzed from the neck down.

But after a stint at a spinal cord injury rehabilitation program at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Colt is determined to someday walk again.

"It was tough, but I stuck through it, and I just kept working hard. Did my best," Colt said.

Student paralyzed in football game returns home Student paralyzed in football game returns home

The coach from Parrott Academy attended the homecoming to return Colt's jersey.

"I thought they lost it, and I was like, 'wow, how do you lose my jersey?' Colt said. "But it really surprised me the way they sewed it all up and gave it back to me."

Over the last few weeks, volunteers renovated the Brake family home to accommodate Colt's special needs. They built a carport, ramp and a deck equipped with a wheelchair lift.

Lisa Gennosa, a friend of the Brake family, came up with the idea. A local builder donated the materials.

"This is a major transition for them and we just want it to be as smooth as possible," Gennosa said. "We put everything in there that we think they're going to need and not have to worry about for a while. Everybody wanted to do something for them."

Colt's family is grateful for the community support.

"It really does help get you through each day, knowing you got so many people behind you," said Tammy Brake, Colt's mother.

His grandmother, Suzie Batts, hopes she'll still be here to see Colt win this fight.

"I truly believe he's going to walk again," she said.

Colt is getting stronger every day, and slowly regaining feeling in his arms. He'll be home for at least a month before returning to Atlanta for more therapy.


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  • just my2cents Dec 23, 2010

    Such a heart warming story. It's so nice to live in communities where you are a family.
    Colt, we are praying for you! I know you will walk again one day.

  • jenzinnia Dec 23, 2010

    Double ditto to all 6 posts! What a brave young man he is and his family and friends who will circle the wagons around him. I'll make sure he is on our Prayer List at Church. May God Bless each and everyone of you.

  • sniperdiver Dec 23, 2010

    Outstanding community support!

  • Warren G. is back Dec 23, 2010

    God bless you, Colt. I am cheering for you.

  • NavySrChiefswife Dec 23, 2010

    So wonderful that Colt is home for Christmas. Prayers to Colt and his family. Many thanks to all who helped with his home:)

  • jstucker Dec 23, 2010

    The Shepherd Center in Atlanta is truly a great place. I've seen firsthand the miracles that come out of there. Good luck to Colt and his family and friends and don't give up- don't ever give up

  • rufiedufie Dec 23, 2010

    wow, what a great story, Colt best wishes to you as you continue to heal.

  • prophetdavis08 Dec 23, 2010

    I pray that he will recovery, God can do all things!