Paralyzed player adapts to new reality
Posted December 29, 2011
Updated December 30, 2011
Rocky Mount, N.C. — A year after an injury on the football field left him paralyzed, Rocky Mount Academy senior Colt Brake is playing again.
Brake has modified a video game controller so that he can operate it with his mouth.
"It is homemade, so it has some glitches in it," Brake admits.
Brake injured his spinal cord as he attempted a tackle Oct. 8, 2010, in a game against Parrott Academy. He spent months in a rehabilitation program in Atlanta before returning home just before Christmas 2010.
A year later, he can slightly lift his right arm, his mother, Tammy Brake said. "With the spinal cord, you don't have miracles overnight," she said. They celebrate small improvements.
And Colt is determined to remain a teenager.
He has gone fishing and hunting with devices that he can manipulate. He fired the rifle that brought down two deer this hunting season.
"It really is not that hard," he said. "I move it with my chin."
He keeps up with his studies. A tutor visits his home and his grades are good.
He was recently awarded one of high school's highest honors: Homecoming king.
"I rolled out there, just in T-shirt and sweatpants. Everyone was in dresses and jackets," he said.
He keeps perspective in check about his injury and what the future holds.
"It happened to me. There is no way I can go back and change it," he said. "Just live with what you got."