Student Once Wounded by Gunfire Returns Triumphant to Basketball Court - NBC Chicago

Student Once Wounded by Gunfire Returns Triumphant to Basketball Court

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The words "shot in the head" and "happy ending" rarely appear in the same sentence. And for months they weren't expected to be part of this story either. Dick Johnson reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017)

    The words "shot in the head" and "happy ending" rarely appear in the same sentence.

    And for months they weren't expected to be part of this story either.

    Damari Hendrix will soon play his first high school basketball game in a year. It's the culmination of a remarkable comeback after he was hurt in a terrible shooting.

    No one expected Damari to be able to be able to play basketball again.

    No one, but Damari.

    "I feel great, getting back to my usual self," he said.

    Brian Rose, Damari's high school coach in Portage Park, still can't believe it.

    "We didn't think it was ever going to get to this point," Rose told NBC 5.

    Even Damari's doctors had doubts.

    Dr. Steven Kreis, DO, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital was one of many specialists, including the ER staff and neurosurgeons at Mt Sinai Hospital, who helped Damari after he was shot in the head here at Lafollete Park Labor Day Weekend 2016.

    "He's definitely going in the win column," Kreis said of the resilient high school athlete.

    Coming out of his coma he had a host of issues:

    I did rehab, OT, physical therapy, speech," Damari recalled.

    When he could finally toss a basketball it was only from a wheel chair.

    "It's a testament to his will to improve and to recover and not let his terrible injury define his life," Kreis said.

    Damari is trying to get better and better each day, but he's not quite to 100 percent yet, he says.

    "I'm getting close, though, like 95--almost there," he said, adding that he's aiming for 110 percent. "Yeah, all the way, max it out."

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