ADAMS Nearly five months after a fall left him unable to move, eat or even breathe independently, Nicholas D. Coburn was welcomed home to the village Friday by a surprise contingent of his family and friends.
More than 50 people lined the streets outside his familys Grange Avenue home on Friday afternoon, mobbing the familys vehicle as it pulled into the driveway.
I dont know what to say, Mr. Coburn said, after he was helped from the vehicle into a wheelchair.
Lori L. Coburn, his mother, held back tears as she thanked the group for coming. It was a long ride home, she said of the first part of his difficult recovery, which has kept him away from home in several hospitals.
The dramatic progress of his recovery was evident Friday. Despite having no movement in his lower extremities, Mr. Coburn, 30, was able to speak, and with limited use of his right hand, managed to reach out and touch his children, Madison, 7, and Cohen, 2.
Mr. Coburn, who fractured his neck and shattered his hip in a car accident three years ago, fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck at his village home Jan. 26 when his hip gave out. Complications following the fall left him paralyzed.
His recovery since the fall has included stays at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, and Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, Schenectady.
Youve got to suck it up and do it, Mr. Coburn said of his recovery. Youve got to play the cards youre dealt.
Pulling back his shirt, Mr. Coburn showed scars on the front of his neck and back from his surgeries.
Several in the welcoming group wore shirts with a Superman emblem, a nod to Mr. Coburns resiliency during his recovery since entering the hospital in January. Mr. Coburn wore a Superman shirt and pajama bottoms.
If he lost hope, I dont know where hed be, said Allana R. Weeks, a high school friend of Mr. Coburn.
While hospitalized, Mr. Coburn saw a large outpouring of support, with friends coming from as far as North Carolina and Arizona to visit him.
If any of us were in the same situation, hed be there for us, Ms. Weeks said.
Mr. Coburns younger brother, Jordan J., said he was glad his brother is closer to home.
Im happy to help take care of him, he said. He always kept an eye out for me, and now its the other way around.
Despite the progress he has already made, Mrs. Coburn, a Watertown Daily Times employee, said her son had more recovering to do. The diagnosis of incomplete paralysis means more feeling could return within the next year and a half, leaving a small possibility Mr. Coburn could walk again.
In the meantime, the Coburns home has been renovated to accommodate him, including a ramp in front and a cleared first-floor room that will become his bedroom.
Mr. Coburn said he remained hopeful he could walk again.
Just keep trying, and never give up, he said.