By Stephanie Stahl
GLASSBORO, N.J., (CBS) — Rowan University’s graduation Friday will be a special event for one student who went through months of rehab to be able to walk again.
Doctors said he might not live, much less walk.
But 23-year-old Tyler Gale will don a cap and gown and walk for Rowan University’s graduation a year late.
The day before graduation last year, Tyler was in a terrible bicycle accident and in a coma for weeks.
“I truly thought that was the end of him. I thought that was it. He was leaving me,” Tyler’s mother Barbara Gale said.
Tyler’s mom watched and waited. There were five surgeries. He survived, but what kind of a life would he have?
“I had to learn how to walk, how to eat, how to swallow, how to write, how to coordinate my hands,” Tyler said. “The hardest part was knowing I could chew and swallow stuff, but actually not being able to do it.”
Tyler saved all the cards and says it was the support of his family and friends that inspired him to work hard to get his life back.
“Seeing this in the hospital was just more motivation to get out,” he said.
Tyler and his mom got to see the graduation set up a day early.
This is where Tyler will defy the odds and walk for graduation.
“It’s a sheer miracle that he is here. That he is here and alive. I didn’t think I’d see it last year,” his mother said. “So it is that much more special.”
And the guys who made it all possible met Tyler for the first time.
“I have no way to thank you,” Tyler said.
Rowan police officers were there when it happened and quickly went to work.
“That night was bad, I didn’t know how it was going to turn out but I’m glad he’s doing good, he looks really good,” Sgt. Joseph Barnett of Rowan Police said. “We were in the right place at the right time that night.”
“The definition of luck,” Tyler said.
Tyler was not wearing a helmet the night he crashed his bike — something he says he’s never going to do again.
He graduates with honors and wants to eventually be a bio-medical engineer to help people with neurological difficulties.