FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) -- This Friday night was homecoming for hundreds of teens at Lake Braddock High School in Fairfax County but for one teen, it was much more. Star pitcher Nick Balenger stood with his baseball team for the first time since a horrific swimming accident that left the Virginia teen paralyzed.
Nick Balenger had an arm like a rocket. He could throw 86 mph and baseball was his life. It was the summer before his senior year at Lake Braddock High School when his family took a vacation to Hawaii.
Nick says he jumped into the ocean on the first day but he, "thought the water was deeper than it was, and cracked my neck on the bottom of the ocean."
Nick's mom Sylvie shared that she saw her husband standing over Nick in the water. That's when her star baseball player son said the six words that would change their lives: "Dad, I can't feel my legs."
The 17-year-old suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Told he'd never walk, the determined Fairfax County teen took not one, but 15 steps just this week.
Nick shared what he thinks when he's told no: "I just think I'm gonna prove them wrong, I love proving doctors wrong."
Inspired by his progress, Nick decided to attend his high school's homecoming. He asked his girlfriend to be his date. Friday night, Nick's baseball team got their championship rings. Many call him an inspiration; he thinks they may be right.
"All the progress that I made from just lying in bed and not being able to move anything but my arms to now at a football game with thousands of people here, I'd say it's a little inspiring," he said.
The road, however, is long, and the physical therapy bills are mounting. Friends have set up a website for people to make donations, buy bracelets and find out about events.
Find out more at www.nickbalenger.com.