CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's been a long road to get here, but on Saturday, 25-year-old Jabari Nelson left the hospital and was greeted by cheers from a large group of family and friends who had gathered outside.
“I can’t express how much I’m thankful, I could’ve been dead, I could’ve been gone,” Jabari Nelson said.
On July 13, Jabari Nelson was nearly killed when his vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 85. The crash was so severe, the Jaws of Life had to pry him out and he was rushed to the hospital with severe brain injuries.
Jabari's mother Nichelle Nelson says initially, the outlook didn’t look good.
“When it first happened, even in trauma ICU they said it could be three to six months in ICU,” Nichelle said.
Remarkably, it didn’t take even half as long.
“He came out of ICU in 10 days,” Nichelle said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the hospital, Nichelle said she wasn’t immediately able to be by her son’s side.
But once she was, she says she instantly noticed progress. He slowly began to breathe and eat on his own and even started to move around a bit
“I’ve always told him to strive for greatness — that he was destined for greatness," she said. "There’s nothing you can’t do.”
Nearly four weeks later, Jabari was ready to leave the hospital. Nichelle credits her son’s speedy recovery in part to his own will and his determination.
“They couldn’t keep up with his rehab because he kept breaking every barrier, breaking every goal that they set for him,” Nichelle said.
Nichelle and Jabari will tell you, though, that there was more at work than just him.
“God,” Jabari said. “I don’t know how to explain it, I don’t know how else to explain it but that’s the only reason I’m still here.”
Nelson's mother pushed him out of the hospital in a wheelchair, but he showed the cheering crowd of loved ones that he was strong enough to stand and take a few steps.
“I’m definitely thankful to the Lord, and I just want to thank everybody else for being here,” Jabari said.