MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's been just over a year since 14 teenagers with First Baptist Church of Montgomery survived a near death experience. Those teens were traveling to a summer youth camp about an hour from Montgomery when their 15-passenger van flipped after it blew a tire.
The most seriously injured, Conor Kirke, was found pinned beneath the van and the pavement.
The fact that Conor survived is nothing short of a medical miracle. And the day after the one-year anniversary of that wreck, Conor started his first day of high school.
Looking at Conor Kirke, you wouldn't know he had that near death experience, in a semi-coma for a month and later having to re-learn how to walk and feed himself.
"I'm doing pretty good so far," Kirke said.
But it's a fresh start for him. And he's three weeks into his first year at Brewbaker Technology High School with no recollection of the church van accident on August 21st of last year that caused his brain injury.
"I was kind of worried though because I didn't get the whole year or my final in middle school, so I was like am I going to be ready for high school?" Kirke questioned.
He's still fine tuning his recovery, undergoing hand therapy.
"This hand got pretty torn up. It's a lot better healed now. But the nerves haven't grown completely back, they were severed mostly," Kirke said.
Last week was a rough one for Conor who was in pain with a high fever.
"They thought I could have meningitis, which sometimes is deadly. So they had to give me a spinal tap which made me worse than I was," Kirke said.
Those results came back negative and Conor has been released to resume physical activity. And he's ready to be a normal teen again, gearing up for sports.
"I'm going to try baseball since I can finally do sports again. And I do ultimate frisbee, it's not a school sport or anything, but I do that on the side and I'm going to start track," Kirke said.
Conor and his classmate Michael Fitz were among the 14 teenage boys on that van. They reflected on that day during a special church anniversary ceremony.
"It was interesting to all get back together again," Kirke said.
A new and improved Conor Kirke who's stronger in his faith with a new leash on life.
And Conor says the doctors told him they have never seen anyone progress as fast as he did.
Even though Conor missed half of his eighth grade year, he came back to school and maintained a 3.75 grade point average.