LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's been a year of reflection, rehab and resilience for 16-year-old Tristan Ballinger.
We caught up with him and his dad Mike shortly after they returned from a six-week rehab stint in Chicago.
Mike says doctors didn't think Tristan would be able to move again after he was hit in the head with a sword in late 2016. Tristan spent more than a month in a coma. Mike was on a business trip at the time.
"I got a call from one neighbor that said, 'I don't know where you're at but you need to get to an airport and on a plane,'" Mike recalled.
But, Tristan did pull through and spent the last year working to regain his physical and mental strength. In October, Tristan began six weeks of therapy at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.
"We haven't really had a prognosis to go by. So, people will say, 'What do you expect he can do?' And, at this point, we just don't know," Mike told WHAS11.
Tristan is even noticing a difference in his ability. "I can do push-ups and I can lift weights. I can do a lot of stuff," he said with a smile.
It hasn't always been easy, but Mike says his faith and the support from his community made things easier - from fundraisers to prayers.
"We don't know why we're going through this. We don't know why he has to go through this. But, we just know something good is going to come of it at the end," Mike said.
Tristan knows he hasn't done it alone, sharing this message about his family's determination to see him improve. "Thank you Kaleigh. Thank you, dad, for being here for me and my mom. Thank you very much," Tristan said.
Tristan plans to return to Oldham County High School in January. To visit the family's GoFundMe page, click here.
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