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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Blair Holliday's miraculous recovery

By Andrea Adelson

If you are looking for a feel-good story today, I present to you the miraculous and inspirational recovery of Duke receiver Blair Holliday.

Holliday was severely injured July 4 in a personal watercraft accident with a teammate on Lake Tillery in North Carolina. In the days after the accident, his prognosis for a full recovery appeared grim.

But Holliday is now walking and talking, and gave his very first interview to KNBC-TV in Los Angeles as part of an exceptional piece that presents new detail about the day of the accident, and his long road ahead.

"I’m not angry,” Blair says in his interview. “I’m thankful that it happened to me to show me what life is like, that life is precious and you can lose it at any point and time.”

Holliday has no recollection of the accident, which happened when his jet ski collided with one teammate, Jamison Crowder, was driving. Though Holliday ducked to get out of the way, he was hit in the head and knocked into the water, unconscious. Crowder pulled Blair out and onto his boat to an adjacent dock. There, nursing student Chelsea Gibbons saved Holliday's life.

He had stopped breathing.

“I gave him two rescue breaths, started chest compressions like I learned,” Gibbons told the television station.

She kept him alive until rescue personnel came. Holliday slipped into a coma with severe brain injuries. He then developed pneumonia. But Holliday eventually awoke from his coma, and has slowly re-learned how to walk and talk.

“It’s frustrating. Things that used to be easy for me now are hard,” Holliday says. “But they’re only going to get easier for me the more I work on them.”

He has made such good progress, Holliday was released from a hospital in Atlanta earlier this month and transferred to its outpatient facility. There is much more hard work for Holliday to do to get healthy, but it truly is a miracle to see how far he has come in such a short period of time.

“I’m doing better. I’m going to get better. I’m planning on getting better,” he said.