Most high school athletes strive for a championship. Nick Balenger is striving to walk again.
This past June, Balenger and his teammates at Lake Braddock High School in Fairfax County defeated Kellam High School of Virginia Beach to win the state AAA championship. A little more than a month later, Belanger was on a family trip to Hawaii when he tried a somersaulting dive into the Pacific Ocean.
"I thought the water was deeper than it was," Balenger told News4's Erika Gonzalez, "and [I] cracked my neck on the bottom."
He hit sand and suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Doctors told him he'd never walk again.
"I love proving doctors wrong," Balenger says, and so he proved earlier this past Monday when he took 15 steps with the aid of a walker.
Friday night, Balenger and his teammates received their state championship rings. Balenger took his standing up.
For more on Nick Balenger, his story, and how you can help, visit NickBalenger.com.