Paralyzed Player's Home Gets Extreme Makeover - WNCN: News, Weather

Paralyzed Player's Home Gets Extreme Makeover

By Jim Niedelman

Colt Brake, the Rocky Mount Academy football player paralyzed in a freak accident on the field, comes back home Wednesday from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

While he's been hospitalized, friends, neighbors, classmates and people he never met wanted to help.

He’ll be coming back to his old house, but it will have a whole new look.

"People just dropped out of the sky, like angels," said Lisa Genossa, a volunteer who coordinated the renovation of the Brake family home.

"There are a lot of good people with good intentions,” said Kim Bayless, a family friend and volunteer.  “They just need something to rally around."

"Being his friend, I should be out here helping," said Megan Griffin, a classmate of Colt Brake.

When it comes to Colt Brake, help is not hard to come by.

"This will be finished by the time they get home."

Home for the Brake family will be a lot different by then.

Lisa Genossa made sure of that.

It all started at a school meeting after Colt was injured.

Everyone wanted to do something.

"People felt helpless and they wanted to contribute and put their hands on something they could do for Colt and his family,” Genossa said.  “All I had was the idea."

It took off from there.

The list of additions and renovations is long: a new carport outside that wasn't even here two days ago; a wheelchair lift; a wheelchair ramp; five rooms inside gutted and rebuilt;

New furniture; a larger bedroom for Colt complete with a hospital bed and specialized lift to get him in and out; his new bathroom used to be the master bedroom.

Contractors, architects, surveyors and classmates gave up part of their Christmas break to do it.

All of them spent thousands of dollars in equipment and time.

All of it donated.

"You see that on TV, you don't see it in Rocky Mount," Bayless said.

More than a hundred volunteers and professionals put in their time to make all of this possible in less than a month.  One volunteer told me it restored her confidence in the human race.

"Every one of us feel privileged that we could do this for him," Genossa said.

All the work pays off on Wednesday when they deliver their gift with one simple message.

"I've missed you," said teammate Daniel Felton.

"Plenty of people will be emotional," Griffin said.

There's no doubt they’re leaving a lasting impression.

Still, they hope it's only temporary.

"All we want is for him to walk and to not need any of this," Genossa said.

"I want to see him back on the football field and back on the baseball field as well," Felton said.

"It has been the most moving experience of my life," Genossa said.

They also say it's only the beginning.

The latest medical update provided by the family says both of Colt's wrist muscles began to fire on Friday.

He can’t move his wrists, but it indicates the nerve signal is getting past the
point of injury.

Parrott Academy, Home Depot, a local church group and commercial medical contractors in Rocky Mount who want to remain anonymous are among the biggest donors for the makeover of the Brake family home.

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