On Saturday, Brock Mealer emerged from the tunnel inside the University of Michigan's football stadium, rose from his wheel chair and led the Wolverine team onto the field.
The Ohio native was with driving with his family on Christmas Eve in 2007 when police said another driver ran a stop sign and barreled into them.
Mealer's father and his girlfriend were killed. Mealer, his brother and their mother survived. But Mealer suffered a severe spine injury that paralyzed him.
"I just remember vividly the surgeon telling me that, just in her judgment from the ones she'd seen, I would never walk again," Mealer said. "It goes through my head all the time why it had to be that exact moment where that had to happen."
Mealer was transferred to University of Michigan Hospital, where he underwent two years of inpatient and outpatient treatment.
But last October, Mealer said his family was told insurance would no longer cover the costs of his treatment.
Mealer said a month before the crash, his brother, Elliot, an offensive lineman, had surprised everyone by passing on the chance to play college football for Ohio State and instead play at the University of Michigan.
During a visit to his brother last year, Mealer said he was offered the chance to work with the UM football team conditioning coaches to help with his rehabilitation instead.
"It seems like the first rule that they had was that I was not allowed to say I couldn't do something," Mealer said.
Brock said he went from no movement to being able to walk 200 yards. He's also recently accomplished climbing two flights of stairs.
Mealer has a degree from Ohio State and is working on a second degree there, too. But he said he's no longer a loyal Buckeye fan.
"They were saying we need to be Wolverines, and who am I to turn something like that down?" he said.
Mealer's brother and mother escorted him on the field when he led the Wolverines during the season opener against the University of Connecticut.
He said his dad was there in spirit.
He credited God with being responsible for putting such great people in his life to make the healing happen.