COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Months after an accident could have killed him, a Georgia high school basketball player made an emotional comeback Saturday night.
In April, 18-year-old Malik Spellman and his friend were moving weight room equipment across Holt Road, standing in the crosswalk, when they were hit by a distracted driver.
The crash left Spellman with life-threatening injuries. He spent weeks in a hospital after suffering a head and knee injuries.
But Spellman defied the odds. After several months of rehab, the Wheeler High senior point guard returned this season.
"I feel great. I'm just happy to be here. Happy to be able to play basketball right now because that's all I really wanted do while I was recovering," Spellman told Channel 2's Michael Seiden.
On Saturday night, Wheeler High School faced off against one of the top teams in the state. The game was Spellman's first time back playing in front of a home crowd.
"The first shot he made. I kind of had to contain my emotion because that was big for me," said his father Marquis Wright said. Spellman's father is an assistant coach for the team and witnessed the horrifying scene.
Eight months after his accident, the family said it's remarkable to see Spellman back out on the court.
The 18-year-old spent three weeks in the hospital – at times on a ventilator – while doctors treated him for life-threatening injuries.
With a dozen staples in his head and another 38 in his knee, his parents feared he might never return to the court again.
"We poured everything we had into him. We made a lot of sacrifices for his dream," said his mother Tonya Wright.
Now that he is back in the game, Spellman is trying to focus on his future.
"It's been a hard process, but how bad I wanted it, I wanted to come back," he said.
Seiden spoke with the family's attorney, who said he is still working to get justice for Malik. He said it is unclear if the driver's insurance will cover all medical bills.
© 2020 Cox Media Group