D'Mio Ingram was all smiles.
Not only was he home for the first time in five weeks, he was able to walk through his front door.
"It was a long wait," D'Mio smiled. "A long wait coming."
Friday morning, D'Mio was released from Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he has spent the past three weeks.
He is doing what doctors thought he would never do again; sitting on the sofa next to his sister, standing on his own two feet and lifting a fork to his mouth.
On May 8th, D'Mio was left temporarily paralyzed after a tackle during the Longview Lobos spring practice. It was an injury D'Mio said started the day before.
"I had 'truck-sticked' or 'ran over' a former player during practice and I felt the back of my neck, it was sore," D'Mio explained. "I didn't say nothing. I thought it was just like a little minor injury. The next day we ran a play and we ran head to head. As soon as we hit, I just fell. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't talk. It was just scary."
"It was like feeling yourself dying and not being able to do nothing about it."
D'Mio said in that moment he thought his 17-year-old life had come to an end.
"I was just lip-talking to them , telling them I couldn't talk. I couldn't talk and then after that I just started telling them, 'I'm going to die. I'm going to die.' Coach (John) King just started saying, 'no, no you're not.' Then after that, I just relaxed and that's all I remember."
D'Mio spent days in intensive care. He had suffered a collapsed lung and bruising and swelling near his spine. Doctors told his mother he was likely paralyzed from the neck down.
She never told her son that news.
Only once did D'Mio ask why this had happened to him. Then, he wiggled his toes.
"As days went on I could start just actually feeling myself move my toes," he said. "But they were still numb. I just couldn't feel it as good but I could look down while I was doing it and be able to see them moving."
Physical therapy began in the hospital for D'Mio and continues. He will wear his neck brace for the next two months. He now uses his left hand instead of his right.
"I don't have all my strength, it's mostly just in my right arm. I'm able to move and pick up stuff. It's just my right arm still. It's moving kind of slow. My fingers are numb."
During his hospital stays at Longview Regional and Baylor Medical Center, D'Mio was constantly visited by his coaches and teammates. Donations from around the state, but especially the Lobo family, were given as D'Mio's mother struggled to pay medical bills.
"Thank you for the support," D'Mio said in a message to all those who donated and prayed. "If I can do anything to show you all my support and love and thanks I would. I'm not rich so, I can't throw anybody money or nothing like that," he laughed. "But I can just show you my appreciation."
Upbeat spirit in tact, this has been a tough lesson to learn at age 17. D'Mio said he's not the boy he was one month ago.
"Just attitude wise and just looking at life in whole different way," D'Mio said of his changes. "Just taking it slow, a day at a time. Being able to see myself loose a life and then bring it back, that just let me know whatever I was doing wrong in the past, I just need to change my life and give it over to God."
As for football, the doctors have not placed any restrictions on D'Mio as far as physical activities although they did say playing football would not be a good idea. D'Mio is vowing to at least take the field one more time to get back to the game that he loves.
D'Mio Ingram was all smiles.