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Triad man who nearly died in crash recovers, goes to work at hospital where he fought to survive

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A tragic car accident almost took a young Triad's man life one year nearly ago.

Dia'Vonta Chappell, 20, was involved in a nearly-fatal accident on Aug. 20, 2018. He was driving on Interstate 40 heading toward Winston-Salem on a rainy morning when his car hydroplaned and hit a tree.

Rushed to the hospital hoping to survive, he was placed in a coma for three weeks with a traumatic brain and spinal injury. Doctors weren't sure how he could recover, but weeks later he surprised everyone.

"At one point in time, they thought I wasn’t going to make it, I changed," Chappell said.

His mother, Dawn Greene, was amazed by his recovery.

"You couldn’t have told me in a million years that my son was going to get that phone call laying in the hospital fighting for his life," she said.

She says her faith was tested during those moments seeing him lying in the hospital, but she never gave up.

Dr. Martin Avery was one of the surgeons on the team the morning Chappell was rushed to the hospital.

"He had quite a few additional injuries, not just the traumatic brain injury. He had a cervical spine injury, he had injuries to his lungs to the point where he was not able to get oxygen and breathe on his own and briefly had to go on heart-lung bypass, what we call ECMO," said Martin, a physician in the Acute Care Surgery Department at Wake Forest Medical.

Chappell has fully recovered, the only thing left are scars from all his surgeries, but his mom believes those scars now serve as good memories after becoming a miracle and testament of faith and hope. He had to learn how to walk and talk all over again and regain his strength.

Chappell now works in the same hospital where he was once treated.

"If I can share with a patient, then maybe that might give them hope to get out of the situation they’re in because of me," Chappell said.

After he got back to his normal self, he began searching for jobs and decided he wanted to work at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

"It’s kind of coming full circle, coming back to where he was struggling to live and now, he’s living out his life working here and seems to be fully recovered which is just amazing," Martin said.

Dr. John Aguilar was another one of the physicians who helped Chappell with his physical therapy.

"He started off in sort of one end of the spectrum in terms of his condition, and of course there were thoughts at that time on whether not he was going to make it, and then to reach the point where he’s able to live a fulfilled life, it’s an amazing story," Aguilar said.

He credits his amazing recovery to his faith and the doctors who saved his life.

"They saw me at my worst, so for them to see me and how I look now they are like, 'Oh my gosh you look so amazing, you’re such a blessing, you’re a walking miracle,' and they always say, 'You have a story to tell so share it.' And that’s basically what I’m in the process of doing, trying to share my story with not just N.C. but with the world," Chappell said.

Both doctors told FOX8 it's always a good feeling to see patients after they recover, especially since they only see them during some of the worst moments of their life.

"You don’t often see a thing during the recovery and the best times, and I just want to thank him for reaching out because it’s definitely made my day, year, career. It’s just very rewarding and I'm very grateful to see him," Martin said.

Chappell is considering the medical field as a career field of choice, possibly becoming either a pharmacist tech or phlebotomist.

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