DOWNTOWN — After three months of arduous therapy and waves of support from friends and family, Cody Williams is home.
Williams, who suffered a major injury to his cervical spine during the first game of Santa Monica High School’s football season, has been progressing well in the months since the incident and was given the clearance to return home from his doctors at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles earlier this week. He returned home early Friday afternoon.
“I’m very emotional,” said his mother Stacy Williams. “I feel relieved.
“This journey is going to have a positive ending.”
The news of Cody Williams’ release spread across the Samohi community immediately with friends and family posting well wishes to him on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook. Members of his team wasted little time in visiting him at home with a few stopping by in the hours after his return home.
The next few days will see Stacy Williams working with at-home nurses who will help orchestrate the next phase of a recovery that has seen him make great strides in the months since the injury. Stacy Williams said he has 100 percent use of his right arm and roughly 65 percent in his left. He even has some sensation in his legs and has been known to wiggle his toes on occasion, his mother said. A corrective collar he has worn since the days following the injury is scheduled to come off next week, a development that both friends and family eagerly await.
Cody Williams’ considerable progress is a pronounced difference from when he was first hurt. He had little mobility below his neck in the days after the incident and has steadily improved since. The full extent of his prognosis will not be known for at least three months and could take up to nine more months before doctors can properly assess what level of recovery to expect.
“He’s had the best therapist that I ever could ask for,” Stacy Williams said. “(Cody) has far exceeded what (his doctors) expected.”
Chris Featherstone, one of Cody Williams’ closest friends on the football team, just looks forward to spending time with his buddy.
“I can’t wait until we can play video games again,” Featherstone said. “Every day after practice we’d play.”
Efforts to return the Williams’ home to some semblance of normalcy will be ongoing for the next few weeks as Stacy Williams takes an extended leave from work.
“I’m just relieved that he’s home,” she said. “He’s worked so hard.
“He’s come very far.”
Those who have seen him in recent days said that Cody Williams has been in good spirits as he awaited his return home. Samohi Head Coach Travis Clark spent time with him on Thursday, coming away with a sense of relief.
“He’s looking strong, moving his neck really well,” Clark said. “He’s looking good.”
Those close to the situation said that Cody Williams has shown immense maturity in the face of considerable turmoil. His aunt, Traci Bodak-Smith, said that he was a bit of a quiet kid growing up, but has proven to be a pillar of strength for his family. She’s most proud of the fact that he hasn’t become pessimistic during what at times has been a trying process.
“It has been amazing to be around a 16-year-old boy that is able to have such a strong sense of hope,” Bodak-Smith said. “He has such a strong will.”