12 Years ago, Corey Borner was entering his sophomore year at DeSoto High School in Texas. Corey was a typical teen, social and enthusiastic about both watching and playing sports. Corey was particularly passionate about football, but during one fateful practice, his entire life changed.
In a play the team had practiced countless times, the receiver caught the ball and Corey ran towards him. With fierce determination, Corey lowered his head as he braced for the tackle. Corey made contact, and from the outside, it looked like an exceptional hit – but lying helplessly on the field, his arms, and legs frozen in place, the 16-year-old realized something was terribly wrong.
Doctors informed Corey that injuries to his spinal cord meant he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of this life. The life-changing news understandably devastated the sport-loving teen, and it took years of therapy and introspection to fully embrace his new life. Corey became a motivational speaker, reminding others that they too have the strength to overcome life’s toughest obstacles.
Now 28 years old, Corey has celebrated countless personal successes over the years. But on a Saturday in mid-August, Corey combined two massive milestones into a single moment that left the world in awe. Corey graduated from the University of North Texas at Dallas, and with his eyes on his hard-earned diploma, Corey walked across the stage to accept it.
“SO I SHOCKED THE WHOLE WORLD!” Corey wrote on Twitter. “WHEN YOU SURPRISE THE WORLD WALKING ACROSS TO RECEIVE YOUR COMMUNICATION DEGREE! THIS IS THE BIGGEST MOMENT IN MY LIFE!!!! ! I WILL CONTINUE TO NEVER GIVE UP & INSPIRE THE WORLD WITH MY TESTIMONY. I WALKED AGAIN!”
RETWEET THIS FOREVER! SO I SHOCKED THE WHOLE WORLD! WHEN YOU SURPRISE THE WORLD WALKING ACROSS TO RECEIVE YOUR COMMUNICATION DEGREE! THIS IS THE BIGGEST MOMENT IN MY LIFE!!!! ! I WILL CONTINUE TO NEVER GIVE UP & INSPIRE THE WORLD WITH MY TESTIMONY. I WALKED AGAIN! #FINDAWAY ! pic.twitter.com/Puw9B09xcL
— COREY BORNER (@LILCOREY_TRILL) August 15, 2021
With the help of extensive physical therapy and an exoskeleton suit supporting him, the driven graduate walked. Corey took his first steps in 12 years at the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation, just two short months before graduating. His determination and drive is endlessly inspiring, and an undeniable reminder that we’re so much more capable than we may believe.
“TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST LONG,” Corey added, “TOUGH PEOPLE DO!”