High School Sports

Paralyzed player adapts to new reality

Posted December 29, 2011
Updated December 30, 2011

— 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.

Football player adjusts after injury Football player adjusts after injury

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."


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  • deputydog1296 Dec 30, 2011

    Wow, This Kid is an inspiration to all including me, Im 30 and rutured two disc as a Deputy Sheriff and have had 7 spinal opperations since 08. When I think about why this happened to me I think about Brake and the other men and women coming home from the War. Brake, keep your chin up Son, Im praying for you

  • csj2 Dec 30, 2011

    I think of Colt and his family often as I have a son his age who also plays football. Keep working at it Colt, progress---one day at a time!

  • ctnorris2011 Dec 30, 2011

    What a TRUE inspiration!!

  • They call me CATMAN Dec 30, 2011

    This Young Man is an Inspiration. I know he want's to do more but he never gives up. He is a role model.I pray that one day that he will be able to walk. I can tell he is around Family and Friends that Love him and push him to do his best and not feel sorry for himself. This is the kind of news story I never get tired of hearing.

  • aetius476 Dec 30, 2011

    God bless son. Never give up hope or heart. You are a true inspiration to us all. Remember that despite appearences, all is well and in control.

  • fayncmike Dec 30, 2011

    I know there is a lot of work being done on spinal cord injuries. Hopefully, some day there will be some help for Brake and those in similar situations.

  • westernwake1 Dec 30, 2011

    I saw this story on the news last night. It is great to hear that Colt Brake is making progress. He has a great upbeat attitude and tremendous support of his family & friends. I wish him well!

  • RM252 Dec 30, 2011

    Now this is what I call a good story! Way to go Colt!

  • Uhavenoclu Dec 30, 2011

    "The hardest battle you'll ever fight, The mightiest army you'll ever be a part of. The greatest victory you'll ever achieve. is the battle you fight with yourself everyday. So stand tall and never let anyone or anything stand in your way and prevent you from achieving your dreams, your desires, your goals ".

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Dec 30, 2011

    I agree this young man deserves cudos for fighting hard and not giving up whatever he wants to do. But I also believe his family and close friends also should be commended. His attitude was a lifelong development taught to him by his family. His upbeat attitude is due to strong support from his family and close friends. They are all to be commended and would be wonderful people to associate with.