HSU student given 8% chance to live after 2019 crash set to graduate Friday

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Hardin-Simmons University student who was given only an 8% chance to live after a car accident in 2019 is preparing to graduate this weekend.

Ian Williams served in the Navy, played football for the military, and acted as a student coach at HSU, but was given just an 8% chance of survival after a near fatal 2019 accident that broke his 1-year-old son’s legs.

Williams was headed northbound on Winters Freeway to drop his son off at his mother’s house when the driver of an oncoming SUV lost control and rolled into his vehicle head on. The impact nearly crushed his head and left him nearly unresponsive.

Ian and his son were rushed to the intensive care unit at Hendrick Medical Center, where family waited, hoping for a miracle and fearing the worst.

“I was in the room when his surgeon, Doctor Hutchens, said, ‘Ian, you’ve been in an automobile accident. You’re in the ICU at Hendrick’s hospital, we’re trying to help you,'” said Ian’s father, Charles Williams. “She said, ‘Hang in there, are you going to hang in there?’ And he held his thumb up. That was a sign to us that something good was going to happen.”

James Williams in recovery

Ian’s son healed relatively quickly with no adverse effects. Doctors were able to save Ian, though he would spend months in a coma and battle amnesia before returning to himself, after which he began the long road to recovery: learning to walk, talk, eat, and care for himself again.

“It became a full time job. He needed more help than when he was in elementary school, so we had to kind of relive all that. We drew much closer during that time,” says Charles.

Although there were times he felt like quitting and remaining bedridden or in a wheelchair, Ian wouldn’t let himself sink, working instead to improve himself.

Ian Williams during physical therapy

“Everyone in life always has something hard, but I feel like until you’re truly dead you should keep trying,” Ian said. “I’ve had a taste of my body truly failing as a young man, and it was not fun.”

After the difficult process of rebuilding his life, his body, and his mind, Ian set out to finish his degree in education. It’s a task he will complete Friday morning as he walks across the stage at Hardin-Simmons University.

“I feel proud and semi-frustrated, honestly, but I’m kind of glad that it’s over and God and family has helped push me as far as I’ve gone,” he says Ian.

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