Paralyzed Student Walks at UC Berkeley Graduation
Walking across the stage at the University of California Berkeley commencement feels especially sweet for Austin Whitney, who was paralyzed in a car accident that severed his spinal cord just below the hip.
Four years ago, the Southern California teen with a 4.0 GPA who loved sports and theater was forced to adapt to life in a wheelchair after he got behind the wheel while drunk and crashed into a tree.
"If somebody told me four years ago that I'd be walking at this graduation, I would have never believed them in a million years," Whitney told ABC News.
But Whitney did just that. With mechanical braces strapped to his body and motorized joints directed by a computer brain, he triumphantly walked across the stage at commencement -- a moment that reflected more than just the achievement of a four-year college degree.
"Everything over the last four years and all the emotions of it are really going to be climaxed in those two seconds," he said before his big day.