UA student returns to school after serious injury abroad
UA student returns to school after serious injury abroad Video by kgun9.comvideo
Iustin said the doctors in Nicaragua wanted to amputate his left leg from the knee down because of his injuries. The doctors told them that was the best they could do with the equipment they had.
He began physical therapy at Barrow Hospital in Phoenix. He says he could barely make contact with the balloon.
Iustin broke his femur and knee and suffered a brain injury. He still struggles with his memory and has yet to regain his sense of taste and smell.
Iustin was first taken to the University of Arizona Medical Center before heading to Phoenix's Barrow Hospital. He says he barely remembers this time and lost up to 30 pounds during the initial surgeries.
Reporter: Rikki Mitchell
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Iustin McCarthy-Contreras didn't know during his time studying abroad in Nicaragua that one night, and one accident would change his life forever.
"It was dark out and there was a motorcyclist on the wrong side of the road without a light on and he was drunk and he hit us," Iustin says.
Iustin -- pronounced Justin -- was on an island off the main land and it took emergency workers 12 hours to get him to a hospital, traveling by both boat and van.
He broke his leg and knee in the accident and suffered a brain injury that put him in a coma for a week.
His mother eventually flew him to a hospital in Phoenix where he began his long road to recovery.
"The doctors told me, actually told my mom, that they didn't know if I would even go to college again," says Iustin. "They didn't know if I would study, they didn't know if I would have a job, they said maybe something simple. So graduating from college with business is going against what they said."
Now after all that doubt and uncertainty, Iustin is back in school and working toward his degree. But he's had to take it slow.
He is competing for a scholarship that will help pay some of his tuition and medical bills.
He still struggles with his memory and he also has yet to regain his sense of taste and smell.
But he says he is just thankful to be alive.
"Especially after what I've been told, I've definitely gone above what people said, so I'm very lucky."
In order to win the scholarship, Iustin needs comments and "likes" on the essay he wrote describing his experience since his accident.
To read his essay and leave a comment, visit his scholarship finalist page.