Dec. 26, 2011 at 3:16 PM ET
After Sam Schmid, a business major at Arizona State University, was critically injured in a five-car crash in October he was given a slim chance of recovering. He was unresponsive after suffering a traumatic brain aneurism and his family considered taking him off life support, reported NBC's Kristen Dahlgren.
But his doctor decided to do one more brain scan before declaring the 21-year-old brain dead - and based on what he saw, asked the family to give it one more week. That very day, Schmid was able to respond to a command and raised two fingers - and not long after opened his eyes. He's even recovered enough that he was allowed to leave the hospital for one day to spend Christmas at home with his family.
"There is no better gift," his mother, Sue Regan, told Dahlgren.
He is undergoing intense therapy and hopes to return to school next year - and even coach and play basketball.
"It's been nothing but hard work and pushing through," said Sam Schmid.