Josh Speidel, Vermont player who suffered brain injury in car accident as recruit, scores on Senior Night
Five years ago, the night the New England Patriots stunned the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX's final seconds, a car accident nearly took the life of Josh Speidel.
The Indiana native had recently committed to play college basketball for the Vermont Catamounts.
Speidel remained in a coma for five weeks, according to ESPN. Doctors' initial prognoses indicated Speidel would never read above a fourth-grade level and 24-hour assisted living care would be necessary.
Catamounts coach John Becker kept Speidel on scholarship and, after an odds-defying recovery, he will graduate with a 3.4 GPA.
And on Tuesday night — Senior Night — Vermont honored Speidel with a place in the starting lineup and his first collegiate points.
"He would've been an all-time Vermont player," Becker told CBS Sports this week.
A commitment bigger than basketball.
Five years after a car accident put him in a coma, senior Josh Speidel scored the first points of his @UVMmbb career. pic.twitter.com/2BawNmClUf
"It's a dream come true to look in the box score seeing No. 32, Josh Speidel — it's a dream come true, and I couldn't be more happier," Speidel said.
Albany won the opening tip and quickly scored in an arranged agreement that allowed Vermont to then give the ball to Speidel for a layup. Officials stopped the game, with players and coaches from both teams congratulating Speidel before he walked off the court to a standing ovation.
"I did it. I'm a college basketball player. I scored in a college basketball game … you can't take that away from me. I'm just so forever grateful."
POSTGAME: @JSpeidel24 talks to @MichaelELehr about his special night & what seeing his name on the boxscore meant to him. #ThisIsVermontpic.twitter.com/2s2mOt8Sy8
Speidel joked he considered missing his shot to record an offensive rebound in a quest to fill his stat sheet.
"I was thinking of maybe missing it, maybe to get an offensive rebound in there," he said. "But I figured I might as well go 1-for-1 and shoot 100% in my college career."
March provides the opportunity for magical moments. It'll be tough to top this one in 2020.
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