OP teen faces long road to recovery after diving accident

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A metro teen is back home tonight after spending months in the hospital. 15-year-old Nigel Charlson was in a diving accident at swim practice back in December.

FOX 4's Molly Balkenbush spoke to him about his recovery.

"It means a lot to have friends who stick by you," he said.

Nigel is grateful to the friends and family who have stood by him over the past couple of months. Even though the accident happened last December, Nigel's mom Jessi Brooke remembers it like it was yesterday.

"You never expect that phone call as a parent. It's a very scary thought, you know, you are in a state of shock, disbelief. I didn't think it was my child," she said.

After two weeks in the ICU, Nigel was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Denver, where he was spent the last three months trying to re-learn the most basic of movements.

He said even texting was a challenge at first.

"It was kind of hard because I didn't have a lot of upper body strength at the time," Nigel said.

He finally arrived back to Kansas City this weekend, but not for long.

On Tuesday, his family will head to Louisville where he will continue physical therapy in a program designed just for his injuries.

He remains hopeful that one day he won't need his wheelchair.

"It's exciting to watch him and see him grow and regain things that he's lost. He works very hard and he is extremely hopeful and extremely positive about regaining as much function as he can," Jessi said.

Nigel is grateful he was accepted into the therapy program so quickly because doctors say the healing process will slow after the 2-year mark.

Because Nigel's home is not wheelchair accessible, his family will be forced to move.

Nigel's friends and family have made shirts and started the hashtag #NIGELSTRONG, and set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who would like to help with his medical expenses.