By Shae Crisson / ROCKY MOUNT (WTVD) - He was a dedicated baseball player and a tough football player, but one tackle during a football game in October changed 16-year-old Colt Brake's life.
"I really didn't put my head to the side of his body. You're supposed to. And, my head was right on his hip and when we made contact. It just snapped back," Colt told WTVD in Raleigh. "It was just like scary, you know. The first few seconds I was trying to get up but I couldn't move," he recalled.
"I just prayed," said Colt's mother Tammy. "I ran out to him and I saw his hands turned back."
"And he looked up at me and said, 'Mama, I've ruined my baseball career haven't I?'" she said. "Seems like such a silly thing to worry about now. We went from worrying about a baseball career to worrying about whether he was going to take his next breath or not."
After a few days at a local hospital was moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta - recognized as one of the best spinal cord rehabilitation centers in the southeast.
When he first arrived, he was unable to breathe or move on his own.
Two months later - as a quadriplegic - he's gaining strength and regaining feeling in his upper arms.
"He's gained some strength in his biceps and some of the muscles surrounding the shoulder that help him rotate," explained his therapist.
The small movements are a huge milestone.
"I've come a long way," said Colt.
And, he's learned new ways to do one of his favorite things like hunting. Without the use of his hands, his chin moves a joystick to set the shot. By blowing into a straw he fires the rifle and hits his mark.
Colt says he couldn't have made it this far without the prayers from so many. Cards fill his room and he said the messages warm his heart.
"It helped me, wanting me to get stronger and work harder because I had support," he explained.
The amount of support is unbelievable his family said. While they've been in Atlanta focusing on Colt's recovery, countless volunteers from church groups, community members, classmates, and strangers are remodeling their entire home in Rocky Mount.
They've made sure that when Colt comes home for Christmas, he'll be able to get around his house in his wheelchair.
"I'm excited to see everybody - all my friends, family and dogs," said Colt.
"I used to think there are a lot of bad people in this world. But now I think there are a lot more good people than there are bad," said Tammy.
"There are no words to describe. Thank you seems so petty," she continued.
But she does thank them and hopes they'll continue to help - admitting she's a little nervous about going home.
"Colt's attitude here is just so great. He's just another kid in a wheelchair here, but when we get home, he's going to be the only kid in a wheelchair, and I worry about him coping and us coping," she explained. "We're gonna get through it, one way or the other, we're going to get through it."
"I'm going to get better, and stronger," said Colt.
"We're gonna walk again," said Tammy.
You can keep track of Colt's progress through the www.coltbrake.webs.com website. It has photos and provides updates from the family, along with dozens of more messages.
There is also a "Support Group for Colt Brake" on Facebook and a "Keep Colt Brake With You" page that are filled with prayers and well wishes.
A fund has been established to help offset expenses for Brake and his family.
Make checks payable to: Colt Brake Fund c/o RBC Centura Bank 2340 Sunset Avenue Rocky Mount, NC 27804