Justin Gibson, sophomore social major from Gatesville, continues to recover after his scooter crashed with another vehicle on March 30.
After the accident, Gibson was in critical condition and remained in a coma. Doctors said it was possible that he might lose his speech and his ability to read and hear.Â However, Gibson’s recovery did not go as expected.
Gibson’s girlfriend, Melissa Mason, junior psychology major from New York City, said that Justin has made an incredible recovery.
“They didn’t ever expect Justin to get to this point and especially not a week and a half after he woke up from his coma,” Mason said. “They didn’t expect him to wake up from his coma 12 days after the accident. They estimated three months to two years. It’s been amazing. It’s a miracle. It’s all God.”
Mason said Gibson is currently awake, walking with the help of a walker, cognitively very aware and is talking.
Gibson plans on returning to Gatesville to live with his parents and participate in outpatient care in Dallas a couple of times a week until he makes a full recovery. He continues to suffer from double vision in one eye, a torn ACL and head injuries. He is currently only able to talk in a whisper due to a damaged vocal cord. At this point, the lasting effects of Gibson’s accident are unclear.
Mason said, “We still don’t know if there are going to be deficits or not, or if he’ll go back to being completely healed. It’s all up in the air.”
The ACU community’s support of Gibson has impacted him and his friends and family.
“Justin knows that all of ACU is praying for him. I told him that the first day you met for Chapel after the accident, the whole Chapel was about him. He said ‘really?’ and then he fist pumped,” Mason said. “He’s blown away by how many people care about him and are coming together to support him. It’s the same for us. We just feel so blessed that we have so many people that are supporting us and are praying for him constantly.”
Faculty, such as Dr. Scott Perkins, a professor of the Department of Psychology, who are connected to both Gibson and Mason have made the trip to the Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas that Gibson is receiving treatment at.
Dr. Perkins is one of Mason’s past professors. He was impressed with the way family and the community rallied around Mason and Gibson and the evidence of God in that support.
“Melissa has found a place to stay that she doesn’t have to pay for. She’s not in school right now so she can be with Justin. She’s had some of her family with her who have been very supportive, which doesn’t sound very miraculous, but is evidence of God being with them,” Perkins said. “The response from the community, with the provision of a place for Melissa to be near Justin, shows God working in this situation. Through financial and other support, I think the ACU community has helped them tremendously.”
Dr. Perkins’s past experience equipped him with insight into Gibson’s situation which was helpful for Mason.
Perkins said, “Having worked with brain injury before, I think there is good reason to be optimistic for Justin’s recovery.”
Gibson’s story and recovery have also reverberated with those who hear it.
Mason said, “A lot of people have said to me that they used to have trouble believing in God, and Justin’s situation made them feel that God is real and that He cares about us.”
Though Gibson’s recovery is not complete, he appreciates the support that has been shown and is already planning ahead.
“I know Justin wants to say thank you to everybody. He never thought that so many people would care about him and would be praying for him,” Mason said. “He keeps saying he wants to get better so he can go back to ACU for summer school. That’s what he’s talking about all the time.”