Former Oaks Christian School wide receiver Blair Holliday was on the sideline at Wallace Wade Stadium with his Duke University teammates Saturday just months after suffering brain trauma in a personal watercraft crash.
Holliday was the honorary captain for Saturday's coin toss in the Blue Devils' matchup with North Carolina Central University.
"Today is a special day for Blair," his family said in a statement posted on the Duke University athletics web site. "Returning to Duke to share cherished moments with his teammates and friends has been a goal of his for several weeks.
"This journey has taken our family down paths we never would have imagined, and without the love and sustenance from so many individuals and groups, we would not have survived."
Holliday was airlifted to UNC Trauma Center July 4 after he was struck in the head by another teammate's personal watercraft on Lake Tillery in North Carolina. He was in a coma after the crash and fought of pneumonia six days later.
He has transitioned to outpatient therapy, learning to walk and talk again. A rehabilitation physician on Shepherd Center’s traumatic injury unit credited Holliday’s physique as an important factor in his recovery.
“His body is better able to deal with the trauma," Dr. Andrew Dennison told NBC4 earlier this month. "I think his pre-existing work ethic comes through for him to be able to push through with the therapies.”
Duke won Saturday's game 54-17.