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'Miracle man' cheer coach recovering after major brain injury

7:37 AM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- It is hard to look at photos of the way Chris Gage used to look, mainly because of how he looks now.

However, despite being barely able to speak and walk, Gage "has made major, major, major improvement," according to his cousin, Brittany Johnson.

Gage was an energetic cheerleading coach in Cobb County. He was on his way to the gym on May 13 when, police say, he was T-boned by a car going 72 miles an hour -- a car that had also just ran a red light.

MORE | Woman charged in crash that hurt cheer leading coach 

The other driver, 52-year-old Patricia Evans, was arrested Wednesday.

Gage suffered major damage to his brain stem and was in a coma for several days. But in the past few months, he has indeed improved.

"They would say, 'Squeeze my hand.' He would squeeze our hand, and the doctors there were literally going, 'This is unbelievable,'" Johnson said.

Letters and support have poured in, from his parents and cousins, his partner, and the ever-enthusiastic Cobb County cheer community.

"He's coached a lot of the girls there, and they all love him to death," Johnson said.

Now at the Shepherd Center, Gage can walk one assisted lap down the hall before getting tired. He does drills for his gait and his ability to squeeze with his hands.

But every day, every reach, is another step forward.

"What was a nightmare is now a miracle," Johnson said. "We call him our miracle man."

You can learn more about Gage on his Facebook page, Prayers For Chris Gage.

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For more stories by Matt Pearl, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, or check out his "Telling The Story" blog.

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