Teen paralyzed in accident returns home

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Cheers and applause greet a Hanover teenager as he comes home, just in time for Christmas. A crowd of family and friends packed the Atlee High School Auditorium today for Cole Sydnor who was injured this summer in an accident.

Cole just left a few moments ago. He's finally going home after 131 days. He's spent the past few months in a rehab facility in Atlanta. He says he always hoped he'd be home for Christmas and now he is. This was the moment Cole Sydnor has waited for months.

"It's a little mind-blowing, very overwhelming, brought tears to my eyes. I mean it was hard not to. It's crazy seeing all these people knowing the only reason they're here is for me," Cole said.

Hundreds packed into the Atlee High School Auditorium to welcome Cole home. Cole has not been home since he was injured diving into the James River this summer. He's now paralyzed from the chest down.

His friends back home in Mechanicsville have spent the last few months raising money to help Cole's family while they waited for him to come home.

"All these people keep rooting me on, wanting me to stay strong. It's just really inspirational," he said.

His friends have sent an avalanche of letters to his rehab facility. Cole joked the mailroom staff thought he was famous.

"All the mailroom people were like, 'Who is this Cole kid? I want to meet this Cole kid. Everyone keeps sending him these letters'," said Cole.

Cole says he's now looking forward to being an Atlee Raider again and going back to school with his friends.

"It's been so long since I've been able to hang out with my friends and see them every day like I used to. Once I'll be able to do that again, it'll really lift my spirits," Cole added.

Cole's friends have raised thousands of dollars helping the Sydnor family retrofit their home to make it handicap accessible. He'll be a part-time student at Atlee High School starting next month. Cole will be home for the next few months and will go back to Atlanta for more rehab this summer.

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