HOPEDALE (CBS) – Hopedale High School senior Brian Cerow has a lot to smile about. “I am thankful to be walking and standing where I am today,” Cerow said. Only eight months ago, he broke his neck trying to make a tackle during a football play.

Brian Cerow (WBZ-TV)

“I broke my C-1 vertebrae and it was a fracture in three locations. It was millimeters from severing my spinal cord and that would’ve been instant death pretty much,” Cerow said.

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He was treated at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he kept his positive mindset intact from start to finish.

Now he’s fully recovered. “Stay positive throughout the whole thing. Find enjoyment in the little things. Even if you are locked in a wheelchair enjoy the things you got,” Cerow said.

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Brian and his friend practicing lacrosse (WBZ-TV).

Cerow put his football down and is now playing lacrosse and getting ready to graduate and attend Bridgewater State University. “The fact that he’s going to walk down and get his diploma to me is just a miracle,” his mother Jennifer Convery said.

He also boasts having achieved his lifelong dream of skydiving. “I think you have to live life to the fullest and you never know what day’s your last,” Cerow said.

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And while he will miss the game of football, he is so grateful for his second chance at life. “I am beyond thankful and blessed. Without my friends and family, without their wisdom, without their advice and support that they gave me, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Cerow said.

Paul Burton