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"God would never let anyone die who crashed into a church!"

From Coma to College

Michigan "Dead Man" Earns His Degree!

May 5th, on the Central Michigan University campus, one more goal will be met by severe brain injury victim, Travis Phillips of Addison, Michigan.

"It took a little over seven years and nearly $100,000.00 in college tuition, but I did it!" Travis says. "I'd like to show my diploma to the nurse that told my mom she had to get real and face the facts, that I was never going to be any more than a vegetable! She told her to start looking for a nursing home to put me in!"

In 1998 Travis was forced off the road at a high rate of speed, crashing his car into a church! There was no earthly reason he should have lived, the impact was so strong, that the car was wrapped around the corner of the brick building. Doctors at University of Michigan hospital were asking his mother to consider donor possibilities, expecting him to die within 48 hours. Once he passed the first 48 hours, they watched for any sign of coming out of the coma and saw nothing. He developed fluid on his lungs and then Pneumonia set in. His temperature was the only thing moving for weeks. When his mother was told he needed to be transferred to a nursing home, something happened that bought him the time he needed to heal and remain there until he was ready for rehab. Being allergic to penicillin, and moved to several locations in the hospital before his charts arrived, caused staff to make a serious mistake and give him five doses of the antibiotic before his mother recognized the symptoms and caught it. She was outraged!

Travis was given a private room where his mother stayed by his side to care for him when the nurses aids couldn't . Six miraculous weeks later, he woke from his coma and slowly started finding his way back to reality. With an excellent rehab team at the U of M hospital, he started to hold his head up, balance, recognize his family and go on to learn everything for the second time in his life. His progress was the talk of the hospital. A real miracle man. Losing the use of his right hand, he learned to write again with the left hand, and still can't run very well, but he made goals to stand alone first, to walk with a cane by Thanksgiving, and to walk on his own by Christmas. The severe brain injury that was suppose to leave him in a vegetable state the rest of his life, only lasted a short four months and he was out of the hospital.

Travis only had five months of outpatient rehab and decided he wanted to get back to pursuing the dreams he had coming out of high school. Functioning in a groggy, laid back "stage eight" of the coma, he set out to make another goal. He convinced the Michigan Vocational Rehabilitation services to support his wishes, and he set out for a college degree.

There are actually eight stages to a coma. The first being brain dead, and no activity at all. Travis arrived in the hospital at a stage two. Stage three has some movement, but is still a vegetative state. He had to be in a stage four before rehab would agree to work with him. In this stage, they must be able to understand you, by blinking or moving a toe when you tell them to. Travis went in and out of this stage, but the only one who ever saw it was his mother. Then he was given the penicillin and his temperatures started spiking at 106.5 and he was too sick to respond to anyone. Miracle after miracle... Given time to heal, (For some strange reason Travis was given a private room and all the time he needed) and he began to soar through the next four stages of his coma. He entered college at a stage eight. Fully functioning, but on a groggy level, causing short term memory to be foggy and all of his emotions to be enhanced but he handled them well. This is the stage that many brain injury victims learn to live in the rest of their lives, and Travis seems to be getting better, slowly and steadily each year.

Travis faced many problems but found solutions for them all. His short term memory was not good, and he could only focus on one thing at a time, so he had to go on half time status causing him to have the same off-campus expenses as full time students for eight years instead of four. Since Travis could not write fast enough to take notes, the Central Michigan Disabilities office helped him get note takers, asking another student in his classes to use special carbon paper when they take their notes to be able to share a copy with Travis. and he was given longer time for exams.

Because Travis was having to go on half time status, he started running out of grant money and his college loans were not set up to extend this far. He was even told that the Perkins loan was all given out to students who deserved it more. He was running out of financial aide and facing some of his hardest classes yet. He had already been put on "probation" with this college aide several times for taking less than the required courses and soon Travis faced a new problem. All students are offered tutors in their harder courses. Travis was majoring in chemistry, with classes under his belt like calculus for scientists and engineers, quantitative analysis, chem. 1 and chem. 2, but in his sixth year he was told there were no tutors available for the final chemistry classes he needed. This was because CMU has a low percentage of chemistry majors, which meant there would be a shortage of tutors. He didn't know this until he was started inorganic chemistry, and couldn't even get a note taker, falling way behind with no tutor to help him catch up. Why Travis wasn't told this would happen years earlier is a mystery, but he didn't have enough financial aide to retake the courses he would need help with, so he had to change his major. Wanting to help his mother turn her ministry into a business, he changed his major to Entrepreneurship and minored in chemistry. He was just one class short of a double minor with math and plans to pursue that later in life.

With a BAA in Entrepreneurship, Travis William Phillips is on his way to turning the whole neurological world upside down!

To see his rehab pictures and read more information visit Story

His New Corporation Venture at

His Miracle Story - Then he turns his mother's children's ministry into a corporation!