When 17-year-old Christion Mason walks across the stage to graduate with Alcovy High School’s Class of 2018, it will truly be a story of triumph over tragedy considering he had to learn to walk all over again after suffering devastating injuries in an accident.
Christion was struck by a logging truck while walking home from Alcovy on the evening of Jan. 14, 2016. He was not found until 30 minutes later when another Alcovy student driving past saw him on the side of the road and called 911. He was flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston by air ambulance with massive injuries.
“I was on the baseball team, baseball conditioning and track conditioning and I asked my mom if I could walk home, so she told me yes,” he said recalling the day of his accident. “Well actually, it’s a funny story because all I remember is waking up in some weird - it looked like it was a blue van - flashing lights. I didn’t know what it was. It was flashing lights I was thinking I was dreaming.
“I woke up in this van and then we finally stopped and I just blacked out again. I didn’t remember anything.”
Christion’s road back to Alcovy was long and laborious. He said he had to learn to do things he had long taken for granted all over again, starting with rehab in the hospital. After he discharged from the hospital on March 1, his birthday, he had to go to what he called day rehab.
“I got discharged from the hospital, but it wasn’t over after that,” he said, “After they discharged me from the hospital I had what was called ‘day rehab,’ where you go there like school. I was going over covering the same things I was doing in the hospital, just more sort of advanced.
“I was doing physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, every day for I believe it was a month. So I finally graduated from that. But after I graduated from that, the journey still wasn’t over.”
Christion said after he got home there was still more therapy.
“It takes a lot of work to get the range of motion back if you’ve lost it,” he said. “I filed for occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy. So after a few weeks, we decided that I didn’t need anymore physical or speech, but for the occupational, I kept doing that.
Christion did hospital homebound while he was in day rehab to keep up with his studies. He was determined to get back to Alcovy.
“Me being me, I was always ready to go back to school. It’s when they decided,” he said.
Christion made it back to Alcovy with two weeks left in the 2015-2016 school year. He said it took a lot of work to make it back.
“It was a whole bunch of stuff,” he said. “I would say that there were times where I was just like, man this is too much. I don’t even know if I want to do it anymore. But I just kept pushing myself and I got through it.”
Christion explained that one of his sustained injuries was a traumatic brain injury.
“I could go on all day about the things that happen with that. The key point is that it makes it harder to focus,” he said. “It gets you really fatigued. It’s like you’re basically like a little kid again. You’ve got to eat every hour or so.”
A two-sport athlete before his injuries, Christion was determined to compete when he got back to Alcovy. He joined the golf team.
“I took up golf because my right arm is out of commission but for golf, if you’re right arm dominant you only need your left,” he said. “It’s just sort of a sport where I felt I could thrive.”
With his emphasis on keeping up with his studies, Christion maintains a 3.5 GPA as he graduates. He has been accepted and plans to study at Morehouse College in Atlanta in the fall, studying business administration.
As he approaches graduation and prepares to start a new chapter, Christion said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished.
“I’d say I’m really proud. It’s a milestone for me.”