CRESTVIEW — Ryan Weekley is an 18-year-old, versed athlete in several sports, but now he’s a fighter.

While playing with his trampoline dodgeball team Dec. 28, he injured his neck and was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

Doctors discovered Weekley broke the C5 and C6 vertebras in his neck. Through surgery and testing, it was determined that the spinal cord wasn’t severed, according to his mother, Becky Kervin.

An incomplete fracture means Weekley has a chance to partially, or fully, recover, doctors told Kervin. For now, he’s paralyzed below the chest.

Weekley remains in Sacred Heart’s intensive care unit but is regaining strength, according to Kervin. She said doctors are nearing completion of a blood pressure medication regimen and he’ll be removed from the ICU at that time.

Weekley’s next phase of recovery is a transfer to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. The not-for-profit hospital specializes in treatment and rehabilitation for people with brain and spinal injuries, according to its website.

Kervin said her son would complete four to five hours of physical therapy each day while at the center. Doctors aren’t sure how long Weekley will need to remain in Atlanta.

Through the pain, Weekley has remained positive, patient and resilient, Kervin said. She attributes his optimistic condition to personal strength and strong faith.

Friends and family have come to Weekley’s side during his hospitalization, referring to him as “Superman.” His friends even made a pact to not hang out as a group again until Weekley can be there to join them, according to Kervin.

“It’s as beautiful and perfect as an imperfect situation can be,” Kervin said.

Before the accident, Weekley planned to join the Air Force and work on an engineering degree. Even if he fully recovers from his injury, his mother has been told he will not be able to enlist due to the spinal repairs. Despite this, he plans to pursue engineering as a career path.

Weekley’s mental focus has been on the well-being of Kervin — a single mother. She had to leave her job as a substitute teacher since her son’s injury and isn’t sure how she’ll pay the bills, but said her first priority is caring for Weekley.

Kervin began exploring various grants and donations for her son’s situation but hasn’t made much progress. In the meantime, Weekley’s cousin Kimberly Lebron has planned several fundraisers and made a GoFundMe page to offset costs.

Insurance will cover many of the medical costs, but not everything. Weekley can only be transported to the Shepherd Center via ambulance or helicopter — a $4,000 trip, according to Kervin.

“If I don’t have a house when I get back, I’ll go stay with someone, but that’s not my focus now,” Kervin said.

She maintains her optimism and faith that her son will continue to make progress and fully recover.

“God has been great to us through all of this,” Kervin said.

Donations, updates and information on fundraisers are available at www.gofundme.com/368wscw.