School friends share special bond after severe injuries

Grant Brunson (Source: WALB)
Grant Brunson (Source: WALB)
Maddie Armona (Source: WALB)
Maddie Armona (Source: WALB)
Windy Armona (Source: WALB)
Windy Armona (Source: WALB)

Two Westover High School graduates are making remarkable strides, after both suffered life-threatening injuries in two separate accidents.

You probably remember Grant Brunson and Maddie Armona.

Grant was severely injured in a fraternity team-building exercise at Georgia Tech last November.

He fell off one of his fraternity brother's shoulders, falling on his neck, and leaving him partially paralyzed.

Maddie was heading home from college to see her parents, when she got into a head on collision, leaving her with brain injuries and multiple broken bones.

"You don't wish this on anyone. But to be here together has definitely been a great support and source of strength," said Grant's mother Lisa Brunson.

A friendship that started in middle school is now one unbreakable bond.

"Grant came to Shepherd November 20th," Brunson said.  "It ended up that Maddie and some other friends from high school and Windy, came to see Grant, I believe it was January 4th."

Exactly one month later, Maddie was involved in a crash on the Liberty Expressway.

A car crossed the median and struck Maddie's car head on.

Weeks later, with multiple broken bones and brain injuries, Maddie was at the Shepherd Center with her buddy Grant.

And when Grant went to go visit Maddie for the first time, she gestured a peace sign: a glimpse into the real Maddie coming back.

"For me to be there, in that moment, it was amazing for me to see," said Grant. "From then, up to this point, being here with her, it's been great."

One could say their friendship is the motivation that keeps them going.

Their progress is surprising everyone.

"When I first came in, I was unconscious, and didn't move, and now I can walk and move everything," said Maddie.

"Being in a bed, being in a power chair, to now starting to move a little bit with a walker," said Grant Brunson.  "They're just so happy to see that."

But it's not only their friendship they credit for their miraculous turnaround.

It's their faith.

"It's tough for mamas to give up that control, but it's all in His hands.  And He's done a really remarkable job with these two kids," said Maddie's mother Windy Armona.

And to the family and friends who sent numerous cards, calls, messages, donations, and prayers, Maddie and Grant feel your support.

They said those prayers have gotten them to where they are now.

Grant will continue therapy this summer and return to Georgia Tech this fall.

Maddie's discharge date from Shepherd Pathways brain injury outpatient care is June 22nd.

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