Skyline High runner defying the odds six months after surviving horrific crash
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IDAHO FALLS — It’s something Nick Kirby’s parents thought they might never see again.
Their 15-year-old son running in a race just months after surviving a horrific car crash.
“There’s not a better feeling in the world to see that,” Dustin Kirby, Nick’s father, tells EastIdahoNews.com. “It was a pretty surreal moment.”
The Skyline High School sophomore has been running for three years. He’s on the school’s cross-country team and track season was coming to close when everything changed May 22.
Nick was in a car with Ivy Vigliotti and Asher Strubel during their lunch break when they crashed into another vehicle being driven by Brittney Jamesen.
Ivy and Asher died. Jamesen was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and lost her unborn baby.
Nick was hospitalized and put in a medically induced coma with an unknown outlook.
“I remember in the hospital when Nick was in a coma,” Melissa Kirby, Nick’s mother, says. “We sat around and were talking about if we could just see him run again how that would be the best thing in the world.”
After nearly three weeks, Nick woke up from the coma and his will to push through his injuries amazed the doctors.
“He just did so well in therapy,” Melissa says. “He’s an athlete and so his body knew how to work hard. They said that was a really good benefit for him.”
Six weeks after the crash, Nick went home with a steel rod in his leg.
“I’m doing good and I’m just happy to be home because hospitals aren’t the (most fun) or most interesting of places,” Nick says with a smile.
Eli Sorenson, one of Nick’s best friends and fellow runners, organized the Run 2 Remember 1 Town 1 Run event in September with proceeds going toward the families of the four involved in the crash.
“I didn’t feel like I could do anything at the hospital so it was kind of helpful to me that this was something I could do,” Sorenson says.
As others ran, Nick rode his bike.
A few days later, cross-country season started and there was no way the athlete would be sitting out.
“I got a call from him as he was riding his bike with his friends as they were training for cross-country,” Dustin says. “He told me that he had just rode his bike for three miles. I said, ‘That’s awesome’ and he said, ‘I put the bike down and then ran for another two.’ It completely caught me off guard because this was a month after he got out of the hospital.”
Despite headaches and other pain, Nick was determined to run in the Tiger Grizz cross-country meet in September.
When the race started, he says it was like coming home.
“It was pretty incredible. There were a lot of emotions that went through us as we were watching him run,” Dustin says.
Melissa adds, “We thought maybe he would be straggling behind the whole pack but he was right up there in the middle of the pack.”
Nick finished the race and has been running ever since. He says support from his team, coach, community and classmates have helped him recover.
The metal rod will be removed from his leg next Spring and Nick will continue to run despite the hardships come his way.
“There was that point when there was a lot of uncertainty where we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Dustin says. “Now when you get to see him out there doing what he loves — it was awesome.”