FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When people suffer a spinal cord injury, often times doctors aren’t sure when, or if, their patients will ever be able to walk again. Homestead freshman Nik Gogos was able to walk again, thanks to hard work and rehab, 27 days after his injury.
Gogos got hurt last year on November 23, during his third high school wrestling match ever. The freshman fell awkwardly when we was slammed to the mat. The match took place in Warsaw.
“I remember asking my doctor, will I ever be able to walk again,” Gogos, who recalled his first conversation the day after his injury, said. “He said, we don’t know.”
Gogos ended up breaking his fourth vertebra, and suffered a severe spinal injury.
Gogos said it took him two weeks to build up enough strength to stand up. At first, he was only able to walk a few steps. However, he continued to progress, and was released from the hospital on December 20. “It was my goal to be home by Christmas,” he said.
On Thursday night, the school’s basketball team held Nik Gogos Night. Nik and his parents walked out to center court in front of a standing ovation for his progress so far.
“The Spartans were chanting my name,” Gogos said. “It was pretty awesome, and pretty emotional. I’m just happy I have a great support system.”
Other schools have helped, too. When Homestead’s boy’s basketball team played at Warsaw, the same school where Gogos was hurt, donation buckets were passed around, with the proceeds going to him and his family.
“Whether it be Homestead students and parents, our wrestlers’ parents, or neighboring schools, there are a lot of cool gestures we’ve seen throughout the season,” Nathan DeVaux, Homestead’s wrestling coach, said. “I think it speaks a lot about the wrestling community and northeast Indiana. People really felt for Nik and his family, and our team. There was just an unbelievable outpouring of support, and I know Nik and his family are extremely grateful for that.”
Gogos still has work to go. He has physical and occupational therapy a couple hours a day, five days a week. He still is working to raise his right arm.
Contact sports are no longer an option for the freshman, but Gogos said he wants to focus more on playing his guitars.
DeVaux said Gogos has told him he wants to become a neurosurgeon when he’s older, after learning about his surgeries and what doctors did to help him recover.