Grote Scholar Tyson Ward plans to return to campus as a junior in fall 2011 after recovering from a horrific boating accident that occurred nearly a year ago.

“I’m ready and I am really looking forward to coming back to UTC,” Ward, 22, said.

His survival has been nothing short of miraculous, as Ward’s girlfriend, UTC junior Jenna Bussell, said.  “His doctors said he nearly died three times,” Bussell shared.

Ward and his father Edgar were fishing on J. Percy Priest Lake near Nashville, Tennessee, on June 10, 2010, when a collision occurred with another boat, causing serious injuries.

Tyson Ward remained in a coma until September 17, 2010.  He has endured a dozen surgeries, including arm surgery.  He spent three months at the Shepard Center in Atlanta, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital.

His therapy sessions, once five times a week, have been reduced to two or three times a week.  Ward says for four months, his memory was not present.  When he began to regain his memory, he realized there were many people working on his behalf.

“Campus Crusade for Christ provided tons of support,” Ward said.  “Chi Omega, the sorority my sister belongs to (Camille Ward, UTC alumna and 2009 Homecoming Queen) held a yard sale fundraiser and my church provided donations.”

Ward was chosen as a Grote scholar after his second year at UTC, according to Dr. Gretchen Potts, UC Foundation Associate Professor.

“He had impressed the chemistry faculty and we rewarded him with a two-year scholarship.  After the accident last June, the Chemistry Department decided to hold his scholarship until he was ready to return to UTC,” Potts said.  “Tyson has been working very hard during his recovery.  I went to visit Tyson three times and was so impressed with his progress each visit.   Since returning home to Mt. Juliet, he has continued to work hard in therapy.  We are excited to learn that Tyson will be returning to UTC in the fall.”

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