Nothing is too small for Joe Jackson, his father said. The Hamilton High School junior, paralyzed from the waist down in a football practice injury, is breathing and speaking on his own.
His father, Todd Jackson, said his son’s "spirits are really high."
"He’s very competitive anyways," he said. "That’s just his character. Nothing is too small for him. Of course, you never know how people will react through injury, especially spinal cord injury. But Joseph has done exceptionally well. We are just so positive and supportive, along with the community. When you have that positive (attitude) there is not much of an opportunity to be on the sad side."
Jackson, a 5-foot-8, 160-pound wide receiver, suffered a broken sixth vertebra in a collision with a teammate Nov. 21.
At first, Jackson was communicating with nods and shakes, and was listed in critical condition at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.
He was transferred to the rehabilitation unit at the institute about three weeks ago and is able to use a wheelchair by himself, his father said.
Todd Jackson said he wasn’t expecting the community’s fundraisers and pep rallies dedicated to his son.
"It just showed us that not all society is bad," he said. "It makes you think and be thankful."
His son has at least two more weeks in rehab.
"We are definitely praying for a miracle for Joseph," he said. "All of our goals are for full recovery. It’s kind of day-by-day."