Mooresville, N.C. - A car wreck changed Seth Barwick's life forever back in 2006. He broke every bone in his head and was in a coma for a month. Doctors feared he would not wake up. But, he did. Instead of giving up and getting frustrated, Barwick persevered.
The community rallied behind him, raising enough money to pay for him to enter a special program at "Race to Walk," a non-profit organization based just outside of Charlotte. Barwick now lives independently and has recently taken his first steps without a power wheelchair.
"You take for granted so many of the little things," Barwick says as he does the dishes in his Mooresville apartment. "You can sit there and be bitter about the condition you have to live in, or you can embrace it."
He keeps photos of the wreck on his computer and in an album beside the sofa in his family room. Even though some people might want to avoid looking at the horrific pictures, Seth views them as a reminder of how far he has come.
"It's crazy to see...all the trauma and all the wires...the road rash, the scars," Barwick said, "They said my face cracked like an eggshell."
37 screws now hold his head together.
"I just woke up and thought, 'Well, this is the way I have to live now,'" he said.
The crash crushed his bones and could have destroyed his spirit. However, Seth refused to let that happen.
"It's just a miracle. A gift. All the big man upstairs," Barwick said.
Support from people all over North Carolina rolled in to pay for Seth to train at the "Race to Walk" gym.
"They push me and they're always striving for progression. That's the reason why I am where I am today," Barwick said.
Special equipment at the gym stimulates muscles doctors never thought he'd move again. His willpower and wisecracks keep trainers on their toes.
"Buy me a drink first, before you get all frisky," Barwick jokes as a trainer removes an electrode from his leg. "If you can't have fun with it, what's the point?"
With help from the "Race to Walk" trainers, Seth Barwick has now taken his first steps since the crash back in 2006.
"It's like being a two-year-old kid again. Except, when I fall, it's a little bit further to fall," he said. "I'm at the point now where I can see myself doing everything I used to be doing."
He's overcome so much. No one knows how far he will come in six months or six years.
After the crash, Seth completed his college degree at High Point University. He hopes to move back to the Triad by the end of the year. Before the crash, Barwick played baseball at Montreat College and then Guilford College. He was about to spend his senior year playing at Maryville College. The wreck happened just a few weeks before school started.
Playing sports again will be difficult, but Barwick says he's interested in working on the business side of the sports industry. An internship at the Atlantic Coast Conference helped him realize all the opportunities available to him.
Seth relies on donations from community members to pay for his time at the Race to Walk gym. If you'd like to contribute to his recovery, visit this website.
WFMY News 2