VANCOUVER -- Four months after a punch nearly took his life, Tyler Burton's doctors are calling his recovery a miracle. Sunday morning he was reunited with his congregation at Living Hope Church in Vancouver.
"Tyler decides this morning that he wants to come to church today," said an excited pastor John Bishop to the large congregation.
Tyler was wheeled out on stage by his parents and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Few thought 21-year-old Burton would even live, let alone go to church again.
Four months ago, he was a running back on the Shasta College football team in Redding, Calif. After a game, he and a buddy went to nearby Chico where a 20-year-old man punched Burton. His head hit the pavement so hard that his brain started swelling.
"He had a devastating, basically life ending injury, almost," said Dr. Jamie Nicacio who has been treating Burton at Peace Health Southwest Medical Center.
The last time Pastor Bishop saw Burton was in a hospital in California. He and Burton's parents were discussing organ donations. He has come a long way since then.
"This is Tyler. This is the miracle," said pastor Bishop to the congregation.
Burton's doctors said he still has a long road ahead, and it may take several years for him to recover. Burton plans on making a full recovery.
His pastor isn't the only one calling his recovery a miracle.
"It really is a miracle that he's come this far. It's tremendous -- almost unheard of," said Dr. Nicacio.