LINDENHURST - A Lindenhurst teen's determination and perseverance helped him accomplish something that once seemed impossible: he walked up to receive his high school diploma at his graduation ceremony.

James Kelly was hit by a car as he rode on his scooter on Wellwood Avenue back in April of 2008. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was comatose in the hospital after the accident. His doctors told his mother that he might never wake up again.

Kelly came out of his coma nine weeks after the accident, but he faced a life full of new obstacles. He couldn't eat, speak or walk, and he had to relearn even simple tasks.

The teen began the long journey back to independence through intensive speech and physical therapy. After one year and three months in the hospital, Kelly defied his doctors' predictions and left the hospital.

He returned to school in a wheelchair with the help of an aide. Before long, he set a new goal for himself: to walk on his own. For the next four years, Kelly pushed himself to achieve his dream through intensive workout sessions with a personal trainer that helped improve his balance and strengthen his resolve.

The road to recovery for Kelly has been a challenging one, but he took a giant step into the future last week when he walked up to receive his diploma as his parents proudly looked on.

Kelly says he will continue with his therapy before deciding on going to college.