CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Thursday night was a big night in Cleveland for a lot of people with the 16th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Commission awards.
One young recipient stands out overcoming huge odds against him.
Colin Teets story is a heads up that kids, in fact, also suffer strokes or debilitating episodes very similar. But, how he got back into the game of life and his game of hockey makes him a "shoe-in" for the very prestigious Cleveland Clinic Sports Courage award.
The 18-year-old says he's really surprised about the honor and didn't believe it when he first heard it.
The Westlake teen is all smiles right now but, most of his adolescent years he describes as "a struggle."
That's because he spent them relearning how to talk, walk, write -- you name it.
"When I woke up, my whole right side was paralyzed," he remembers. "I couldn't move anything on my right side."
It was during hockey practice when he was 11 that he would have what is comparable to a stroke. He remembers he wasn't feeling well and then he couldn't keep his glove on his right hand, and suddenly he couldn't even talk.
His dad, Paul Teets ,will never forget the day getting called to the rink. "He was laying on the floor and he couldn't move and you could just see in his eyes asking me to help him, do something dad, do something," explained Paul Teets.
Colin was rushed to the hospital. He went right into brain surgery and then into a coma. His family was told he might not survive.
Not only does he pull through, after years of all kinds of therapy, he pulls past anyone's expectations. "A lot of work," Colin says. "I worked very hard, sometimes I wanted to give up."
He credits the love and support from family, friends, and the incredible therapists at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Rehabilitation Center for not letting him give up.
However, they all say, he inspired them.
One therapist with him from the beginning, Dr. Doug Henry, M.D. looks at him with pure admiration saying, "he's made tremendous improvement in his ability to do things, really, in spite of the fact he still has this weakness. So he's adapted to the weakness."
So much so that he made it back to his high school hockey team for his last two years, but, it wasn't easy.
"I had to relearn how to push on my right side but, it came back," says Colin.
He would cap it off by scoring for his team against their arch rivals, even playing at the Q, in one their last games!
For all of it everyone who meets him calls him an inspiration, and he'll take that, hoping his comeback will motivate others battling hardship.
His message is simple "don't give up, shoot for the skies. If you have family that love you and support you shouldn't give up."
Those are words even he continues to live by with more recovery to come, and now a Courage Award to remind him always of how far he's already come.
Download the Cleveland 19 News app.