SAN ANTONIO – James Mallard fell from a bunk bed, suffered a traumatic brain injury, had a stroke, seizure and went into a coma.
“The doctors asked my mom if she wanted to unplug the life support machine because I was in the ICU,” Mallard said. “My mom said ‘no.’ So, my mom gave me a second chance.”
After waking up from the coma, Mallard said he had to relearn basic motor skills and deal with a language disorder caused by the stroke.
“It was hard for me, but I learned that I needed not to give up, you know, just to keep working on it,” Mallard said.
After months of recovery, James was able to enroll at San Antonio College as a part-time student.
He said his goal is to become a speech-language pathologist and help others overcome similar injuries and circumstances.
“With my disability and have known how it is to have a language disorder, then I can help others,” Mallard said. “You know, it’s like I can help our community.”
During his studies at SAC James joined Phi Theta Kappa, The American Sign Language Club and was a work-study student worker for the Advocacy Center.
“The adversity that he has experienced as a student, in his life, for him to be at the point he was at when I met him and how far he has come, I was just blown away,” said academic advisor Mary Dayton.
James has earned several scholarships and is now transferring to Our Lady of the Lake University to study Speech Language Pathology.
“I feel extremely grateful, you know, that that I survived it and that now I’m on a now I’m on a path, I’m on a journey,” Mallard said.