Crisp County football player has miraculous recovery

Updated: Dec. 1, 2016 at 12:07 AM EST
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Crisp County senior wide receiver Joseph Stokes (Source: WALB)
Crisp County senior wide receiver Joseph Stokes (Source: WALB)
Brandon Thompson (Source: WALB)
Brandon Thompson (Source: WALB)
Markaviest Bryant (Source: WALB)
Markaviest Bryant (Source: WALB)
Southwest GA Rehab Physical Therapist Stacy Hathcock (Source: WALB)
Southwest GA Rehab Physical Therapist Stacy Hathcock (Source: WALB)

CORDELE, GA (WALB) - As the undefeated Crisp County Cougars fight for their first state football championship, they're getting inspiration from a teammate who hasn't played a down all year.

Joseph Stokes will never play football again after a car crash nearly took his life.

But he is making an amazing recovery.

After a year of intensive rehab sessions, Crisp County senior wide receiver Joseph Stokes shared his incredible journey that not only allowed him to walk again but inspired his football team.

Stokes is still practicing with his team, even though he can't suit up on Friday nights.

For Stokes, it's about pushing his teammates to work hard at a sport he can no longer play.

Last November 2nd, Stokes was in a car accident on his way to weight training before school.

His car, brutally smashed.

He suffered a severe spinal cord injury, and doctors said he would never walk again.

"I was sad, I didn't want to believe him just cuz it was kind of scary and I didn't believe," said Stokes.

On the ropes, and on the road to recovery at Southwest Georgia Rehab, Stokes was committed to beat the odds.

And he did one step at a time.

"It's been a long road but then again it hasn't like besides all the pain and all the suffering I had to go through, really all the support I had, all the new friends I've made it's really made it all worth it," said Stokes.

And the reason why Stokes never misses a practice or a game.

"I still like going out there encouraging them just to play every play like it's there last," said Stokes.

Teammates turned into lifelong brothers.

"It takes a lot of someone to come out to the game that they miss and they love," said Brandon Thompson.

"It just shows that he wants to be with us, I mean he tells me if he can just get one more play," said Markaviest Bryant.

And if not on the field, Stokes is considering following the footsteps of his physical therapist.

Stacy Hathcock lit the spark for Stokes to start working there.

"He has a very unique and special story and when you have that kind of story you can impact a lot of people," said Hathcock.

"I don't like seeing people in pain and suffering like I was," said Hathcock.

Hathcock said Stokes recovery is nothing short of miraculous.

As he rebuilds strength in his legs, he hopes one day to run again.

Crisp County plays Cedar Grove Friday for a spot in the state championship game.

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