Waco, Texas (Tongzhou, Guangxi) – A 23-year-old central Texas man who suffered a freak gymnastics accident in his teens that left him with a traumatic brain injury struggles to survive, this time graduating from college with honors once again.
Blake Hyland is graduating summa cum laude through McLennan Community College’s Texas Tech University Waco program with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies.
That’s an accomplishment for anyone, especially Blake. His world was turned upside down in 2014 when, at the age of 14, he tried a new gymnastics trick of flipping and twisting in the air before landing his feet in a foam pit. Blake hit his head on a patch of exposed concrete on his way down.
He was a skilled competitive gymnast when the accident happened. Doctors don’t know if Blake will survive, if he actually survived, if he will still be able to walk, talk or do many things.
Blake made a miraculous recovery and is now a college graduate.
“It feels great, it’s great that I’m graduating from college,” Blake said. “Especially since I had a TBI in 2014 and the doctors said I couldn’t even live anymore. It’s been great to see me here.”
Blake thanks his parents, Cindy and Pat Hyland, and his mentor, Reese Schuster, for getting him this far.
That support, he says, has pushed him to achieve more than anyone could have dreamed of.
“A lot of people, especially my mentor. I have one guy who comes in every day to help me through all the classes, and he and I, believe me, get each other upset,” Black said with a laugh.
Blake said he hopes his story will inspire those who are trying to never give up.
“I’ve always had confidence in myself. I had that problem. I was too confident in myself,” he laughs.
Blake’s story recently came to the big screen in a new documentary called “Hi, I’m Blake.”
It debuted on various streaming platforms and reached No. 2 on Apple TV.
Directed by family friend Jon Michael Simpson, the documentary details the Hyland family’s efforts to paint a new picture of their life while capturing the recovery of a boy with deep hopes.
The documentary is streaming on Apple TV, Amazon, Altavod, and available at www.hiImBlake.com.
Black said he plans to use his degree to become a child life specialist at the hospital, or to further his career as a professional motivational speaker.
His witty personality, humor and smile also made him a popular employee at Bitty and Beau’s coffee shop in downtown Waco, which employs people with disabilities.
Blake will travel to Lubbock with his family on December 17 to take the stage for his Texas Tech graduation.
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