By Nancy Gutierrez

Ask Daniel Lovik when he wants to attend school full time and he'll respond with a confident, "Today."

"I want to see my friends and be like a regular kid," he said.

But for now Daniel will have to make due with half days at Wilson Middle School. Daniel has just returned to school after a car wreck involving a drunken driver left him in a mild coma for several weeks.

Once Daniel regained consciousness he began a series of rehabilitation procedures to regain mobility in his upper and lower extremities as well as learn to speak again.

"Daniel had what is called a brain sheer," Daniel's dad, Brian, said. "He had no broken limbs. If his brain hadn't been hurt he would be better."

Brian said the brain sheer is a result of the force of the impact. The crash shook Daniels body so hard that connections in his brain were "severed." Brian said the actual injury can't be seen with an x-ray but is diagnosed when a person no longer remembers how to control their movements.

"He still has knowledge but accessing it appropriately is challenging," Brian said. "What we're doing is assessing to see what reasonable expectations to have. He's a hard worker who likes exceeding expectations."

Daniel was placed back in his Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) classes and attends from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. During his session last Wednesday, he, along with his classmates, were working on fractions, decimals and percents.

"Greater skills are expected of the kids in these classes," Brian said. "His principal said there is no question that this is where he belongs. He'll just have to prove himself to stay in the class."

And that is just what Daniel is doing. Brian said Daniel does more work than he is asked to by his teachers.

"When he's given his spelling list he learns all of the words and he doesn't have to," he said.

But exceeding expectations is what doctors and therapists have come to expect from Daniel. Doctors told Brian that Daniel would have to write with his left hand because his right wouldn't fully recover, but Daniel uses his right hand when he writes stories during his language arts course. More important than the use of his hand is the use of his imagination which he seems to fully retained. Last Wednesday he spoke elaborately of his newest story about a wolf who grew up in captivity and

must learn to fend for himself after being released into the wild.

Therapists also said Daniel would most likely have problems with his speech but he became extremely verbal once he was able to speak again.

"He passed the expectations of his therapists," Brian said. "The doctors are thrilled. This is the kind of case that makes therapists feel good."

Though Daniel's recovery has been so successful there is still work to do. Brian said he is starting form the beginning and rediscovering the skills he once had with the knowledge he still has. Daniel can add, subtract, multiply and divide. His vocabulary is advanced for a person his age. But

as Brian points out he must work at using fine motor skills.

"Two weeks ago he was cutting something and it looked like it was made by a second grader. Today he's cutting on the line." he said.

Daniel's success in the classroom also surpassed doctor expectations. Brian was told Daniel would have a problem filtering out the other conversations and movement in the classroom and would not be able to focus on work. But last Wednesday Daniel was far from being the last student to get his math assignment done.

"The knowledge is still there," Brian said. "Every once in a while I'll be surprised by something he doesn't know. He still reads above average. But sometimes he'll ask about something that is really easy and everyone should know."

Doctors said that is normal for the injury Daniel sustained. They told Brian that once a connection in the brain is broken it doesn't heal. Instead a new connection has to be made somewhere else.

With the help of his teacher ???? Carins, Daniel is recovering those small pieces of lost information.

"It's harder to remember the stuff I learned before the accident. I'll kind of remember some things but it tries to get away. Sometimes I can get my hands on it and get it back," Daniel said. "My teacher's really nice. If I need help she takes extra time. She's really smart."

Daniel also has also returned to his band class, though now he is playing percussion since his saxophone was damaged in the accident.

Daniel said he wants to be a regular kid again, but that's not possible. Daniel is more than regular. A regular kid wouldn't ask for more homework or constantly work on his physical therapy even when therapists are not around. And a regular kid wouldn't say that he's been blessed after everything that has happened.

"He constantly prayed in the hospital that God would use him to help someone," Brian said.

Daniel wanted to thank his friends and family that helped him during his stay in the hospital.

"It meant a lot to have my brothers Matt and Jonathan and my mom and dad there," he said. "I wanted to say thank you to Mrs. Obosky and Duke and my uncle Tim."

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