Nacogdoches gives honorary diploma

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - Holley Nees - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A traumatic brain injury seven years ago left a Nacogdoches High student unable to walk or talk.

Collin Phillips is an honorary member of the Nacogdoches football and baseball team.

A tragic accident changed Collin Phillips' life and what no one expected, is that his friends Brandon Hughes and Blake Farrell, two Nacogdoches seniors, say their lives were never the same.

"What I've learned from it, I can now use to influence other people and that's huge to me," said Hughes.

"The only thing that ever crossed my mind was, you know, how every person has their doubts and I was like 'How can God be real if this happens?' you know, and through that accident, Collin changed my life. I accepted Christ and I want to be a missionary," said Farrell.

In 2003, Collin was driving a go-cart with his brother when he lost control, crashing into a pond. Collin saved his brother by unbuckling both seatbelts. While his brother went for help, Collin was under water for about 10 minutes. He suffered a traumatic brain injury.

"That night they told Randy and I there was no hope and we just chose to believe differently," said Camala Phillips, Collin's mom.

There are moments from that sixth-grade year they can never forget.

"I remember the first time I got to see him he had tubes going down his throat and it was just, it wasn't the same. It was hard," said Hughes.

"We went to the hospital and I couldn't go in. I couldn't see him like that. It broke my heart," said Farrell.

Their friendship goes back to tee-ball and nights at youth group, but time doesn't heal everything.

Seventy-two days in the hospital, 11 days on life support and now one day to remember all he's overcome. Although he hasn't been able to go to school, Collin will be an honorary graduate tomorrow.

"We feel very honored that they still include him in so many of the activities," said Collin's mom.

"I'm just glad he can be a part of this with us because he's our brother you know," said Farrell.

A brother that will always be in their hearts and together they will cross the stage and reach another milestone.

"He has done more things than they ever said he would do," said Collin's mom.

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