Paul Ivey, Jr.'s world was turned upside down on February 12. He was waiting to make a turn, when he was hit from behind, and pushed into oncoming traffic. Just more than two weeks later, he is released from the hospital, and headed to rehabilitation.
"I know it's been a rough time for everybody, so thank you," said Ivey, wanting to thank his supportive family and friends.
Ivey is headed to in-patient rehabilitation at Immanuel, where he's expected to stay for a month or so. His main goal is to be able to walk into Millard South's Prom, at the Century Link Center on April 14. He says he wants to be able to put on his own clothes and says "be his own person again." That's forty days away.
Being pushed around in a wheel chair is far from ideal for the strong, athletic 17-year-old. A junior at Millard South, Ivey is still grateful. "I'm very excited to be moving on to rehab, and it's pretty exciting to know that I'm going from the healing process to the recovery process."
After the crash, doctors were first concerned about a brain injury, but the swelling went down, leaving no permanent damage. It's hard to believe after seeing the crash that put him in the hospital, on February 12 near 156th and Harrison.
"I've seen the pictures, and I don't know how I survived it, it just amazes me to see how I was chosen to survive, and it's just amazing," said Ivey.
"It's been tough, of course just seeing the car, you know what I mean, the guy shouldn't have survived that," said his father, Paul Ivey Sr. "That was traumatic, but I know he's strong."
Clutching his father's hand through the whole interview, Ivey says he believes he survived because of his sports and his physical condition. "My body's ready for this, and my body's ready for this stress, and I believe that really saved my life."
His father believes it was a guardian angel. "I believe that's what helped him, there was just a little amount of space in that car for my son to live, and there was enough for him to be there."
Ivey did lose about a week of his memory, which included wrestling in districts for his school. "The first thing I remember is waking up and them telling me that I was in a car accident, and I don't remember the days before that or anything."
It's one thing his father says can be replaced. "I still have my son here, and we're going to build our own memories again."
"I'm just very grateful, I know someone's looking over me if I made it through that," said Ivey.
This was the first day he wore a shirt that was signed by his friends on the Millard South wrestling team. "They all signed it before they went to state and has my initials. They signed it because they care for me - and I wore it because I love them."
Funny thing, Paul Ivey struggled to wrestle at 170-pounds. After two weeks in the hospital, he's down to 153.
"This is a kid who has been going non-step since 7th grade -- 100mph," said his father. "He's not used to this. He'll bounce back. He'll bounce back quick."
The three sport athlete and honors student who just got a letter jacket was given another one by the company that made it.
His old one had to be cut from his body by rescue crews. "I wasn't trying to do anything inspirational. I was just fighting for my life."
As for any charges in the crash, Sarpy County Attorney's Office said the driver who hit Ivey from behind has not been ticketed. The office just received the accident reconstruction reports, so they are under review. They say a decision on if and what charges that driver may face, should be reached by the end of the week.
The Iveys say they aren't too concerned about that at this time, they're just focusing on the continued recovery.