LA GRANGE, Ky. (WDRB) – An Oldham County teen has gone from his death bed, to learning how to stand and even going to his junior prom.
Seventeen-year-old Tristan Ballinger just wrapped up his junior year of high school after being sidelined for several months.
"It's been pretty fun," Tristan Ballinger said.
His favorite classes were math and history.
"I just enjoy them a lot," he said. "I enjoy it because it's easy to me."
He even got stellar grades, but it was about more than just the As and Bs.
"His confidence just grew from the time he started until the time school ended,” said Nicole Ballinger, Tristan’s mom.
A year-and-a-half ago Tristan had a traumatic accident. He was struck in the head with a sword.
Doctors at the time didn’t think he would live. Now he's even starting to learn to use a walker and while getting physical therapy at Bluegrass Physical Therapy and continuing the work at home.
“For a kid that wasn't supposed to be doing it, it just blows you away,” said Mike Ballinger, Tristan’s dad.
Tristan even went to his junior prom. As a baseball player he had the perfect promposal.
"I had a baseball and it said I might strike out asking, but will you be my catch to prom?” Tristan Ballinger said.
His date said yes, and they looked better than a million bucks.
"I felt like a gazillion bucks even though a gazillion isn't a real number," Tristan Ballinger said.
"It was great to see that he had the opportunity to go and be part of a school function,” said Nicole Ballinger.
And his friends are a big part of his recovery process.
"They just kind of treat Tristan like Tristan,” Mike Ballinger said.
Now that school is out, Tristan will soon go to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago for the second time.
His therapists will push him to the limits while he’s there for three weeks.
"Yes, they do. And I like that they push me," Tristan Ballinger said.
"When you think you've given him enough, or all he can handle, he kind of asks for more," Mike Ballinger said.
That attitude goes back to the athlete in him and his doctors know that about his personality and his recovery.
"They always end the meeting with 'Tristan is a living miracle,'" Mike Ballinger said.
And every accomplishment, no matter how small, is an added miracle. Wednesday night Tristan's dad said for the first time Tristan was able to feed himself at dinner.
"I shed a tear right there in the restaurant watching him eat his food," Mike Ballinger said. "God reminds me -- he gives me the things when I need to see it about Tristan’s progress in his recovery."
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