Doctors told Brock Mealer that he would never walk again.
On Christmas Eve 2007, a car driven by T. Edward Johnson, 90, collided with the Mealer family's SUV, sending it spiraling into a ditch. The crash killed Brock's father, Dave Mealer, along with his brother's 17-year-old girlfriend, Hollis Richer, reports Annarbor.com
Brock's brother Elliot, who'd survived the car crash with only bruises, tore his rotator cuff trying to lift the wrecked car so that he could free Brock. Brock survived, but he was paralyzed from the waist down with a 1 percent chance of ever walking again.
Brock's mother, Shelly Mealer, who also survived the crash with just bruises, refused to let Brock listen to the doctors. She always believed she would see her son walk again.
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Constrained to a wheelchair for two years, in October 2009, Brock visited his brother at the University of Michigan where he was playing football. After an impromptu meeting with the coaching staff, strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis invited Brock to train with them. According to the Associated Press, although Barwis had no previous experience training paraplegics, Brock took up the offer to attempt rehabilitation in the athletic training center.
The timing was miraculous. Just three weeks prior, on October 1, Brock's insurance company has sent out a letter stating that he had reached his limit of 200 outpatient medical visits.
Brock and Barwis set a goal. Not only was Brock going to walk again, unsupported, but he would lead the Michigan football team onto the stadium in their season opener against Connecticut.
"We made him crawl around the weight room like a baby because you've got to learn how to crawl before you can walk," Barwis described Brock's humble beginings to the Michigan Daily. "I've never asked or gotten a dime from Brock and I never will."
Under the relentless training of Barwis and Parker Whiteman, Elliott watched his brother grow stronger and saw his teammates adopt Brock as their inspirational mascot.
On Sept. 4, 2010, Brock formally accepted an invitation from former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez to lead the team onto the field for the home opener against Connecticut. Clutching a pair of canes, and flanked by his mother and brothers, Brock strode tall to the 'M' in the middle of the field with a t-shirt that proclaimed, '1% -- Glory to God.'
“I have those moments now where I’m not thinking, I’m just walking,” Brock told the Michigan Daily. “I can tell in those moments where everything mentally and physically works in sync that if I can do that constantly then I’ll be great.”
Now, two years later, Brock is only months away from his December 22 wedding. Just short of the five-year anniversary of the car crash, he plans to walk down the aisle ahead of his bride, Haley Frank, unassisted.
“What do I do if I fall?” Brock asked his old coach Brawis in the Michigan Daily.
“You put your hand out like everyone else does. I don’t know what to tell you, boss. You’re at that point. It’s time to walk” Brawis replied.
Brock's ultimate goal is "to be able to walk in somewhere and not have anyone notice anything different about me."
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