HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment and some students have to work extra hard to get there.
Collin Smith graduates from High Point University next month. And being a quadriplegic – meaning he doesn’t have use of his arms or legs – has never slowed him down.
Smith was involved in a bad car wreck at age 14. The Asheboro native said he remembers waking up at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and learning he would never walk again.
Quadriplegic life is much tougher and Smith’s days as a three-sport athlete changed in an instant.
“As Christians we`re supposed to trust God. Of course,” he said. “But sometimes you`re like come on! What`s going on?”
Smith said he spent months in rehab and decided early on that giving up on his future was not an option.
“You always have to look forward,” he said. “Which is difficult at times.”
In order to move forward successfully, Smith had to learn it is okay to lean on others – even people he didn’t know.
Ernest Greene said he first heard about Smith’s accident through a prayer request at church.
Greene said he believes God wanted him to help Smith, so he received training on how to care for him.
Greene drove Smith to and from high school and would continue to help him in college as his note-taker.
The two have become known affectionately around campus as a packaged deal.
“He's like a son to me,” Greene said. “My youngest. Haha!”
Smith’s life-long dream is to become a basketball coach. Rather than let his injury derail that, Smith said it has only made him more determined.
And with his family, friends, teachers and Greene’s help, he is well on his way.
Smith will graduate on May 4 and Greene said he will be there when he receives his diploma.
While they are not sure exactly what the future holds for them, Smith and Greene said they’ll always be dear friends.