Recovering from crash, Mason Hamilton returns home

"Nice job," the Sunnyview therapist responded.

Hamilton explained his therapy routine as he wheeled back to his room. The walking practice occurs in the morning, and "Occupational Therapy," or learning how to get from a bed or mat into a wheelchair, is offered in the afternoons.

"All this is to develop my balance, which is difficult without feeling in my legs or controlling their movement," he said. "It's amazing how quickly you pick up how to use a wheelchair - I've been in it about three weeks but I'm getting pretty savvy to it."

Not only was Hamilton achieving mobility during that early-March session, but his body was beginning to heal, regaining some of the control in his legs that he lost in the crash.

He looked down at his thigh, and made his right quadricep twitch, then he smiled broadly.

"It's minimal, but it's a start," he said. "Any improvement, as small as they seem, are forward progress - I'll take it and keep going."

Outpouring of support from friends

His solid improvement in mobility, plus the immense support he's gotten from family and friends, are crucial as he reorients his life, he said.

This support includes 1,026 friends on Facebook checking into his progress, waiting for intermittent messages from Hamilton.

Such an outpouring of caring and concern is almost overwhelming, Hamilton said.

"I appreciate each and everyone on Facebook supporting me," he said. "This group includes people I haven't seen in years, or people I don't even know - it's really crazy. People are going far beyond anything I'd ever think of."

Brought home from Sunnyview hospital Friday were dozens of cards, photos and letters that earlier were plastered over the walls. Gifts had lined the floor of his room. One gift bag contained a Nerf bazooka that friend Craig House brought to him, so they could blast each other with foam balls for laughs.

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