Almost three months after a brain bleed left her son Scott in a coma, Emilia Akins finally heard the teenager's voice.
And it was the most beautiful word she had ever heard.
"He said "Mom." He had been mouthing words for a while but he finally was able to speak. It had been 97 days since I heard his voice," she said.
Scott Akins spoke for the first time on Dec.28, which is also Emilia's birthday. Seeing Scott improve was the only gift she wanted.
Scott suffered a severe brain bleed as a result of a hit he took playing football for James Bowie High School on September 22, 2017. His prognosis was initially very grim. Doctors did emergency surgery the night of the accident and removed part of Scott's skull to relieve pressure. He was then airlifted to Children's Hospital in Little Rock where he remains.
And though he still has a long way to go, his recovery so far has been extraordinary.
"He's getting stronger and stronger and has started to gain a little weight back. He's started to be able to move his left leg and arm some now as well. We are still working on talking and becoming more audible but as his voice gets stronger that will improve. He has come so far and I know there's no stopping him," Emilia Akins said.
Scott had a setback in December when he became septic. He had to be put back in intensive care for a while. But since he has been out of ICU, he has continued to improve and no longer suffers "storms" where he would develop fevers that were hard to control.
He is now able to sit in a chair and has been approved for rehabilitation, which is the last step before going home.
He can give the thumbs up sign and loves to arm wrestle. A life-long football fan, he watched some of the Bowl Games on TV and rooted for Alabama in the championship game.
"He fell asleep in the third quarter," his mom said.
His long-term memory is good but he does not remember the day he was injured.
Scott's family believes that as far as he as come, he will eventually walk again.
"There is no way medically to tell if he will, but we see him walking at some point. His scans still show that medically, he should not be doing the things he is doing. We told the doctors Scott would prove that miracles are real," Emilia Atkins said.
She said the doctors are ecstatic about Scott's progress.
"They get excited and jump up and down like we do when he does something. His neurosurgeon said Scott is a miracle. There is no telling what Scott is going to show us."
The family appreciates the support they have received from the entire community. Team members and classmates along with players from rival teams have visited the hospital in Little Rock.
A GoFundMe account has bet set up for Scott's family at gofundme.com/764gr-teamscott-30 along with a "Pray for Scott Akins' Facebook page.