Central Texas man who defied the odds to recover from devastating gymnastics injury walks the stage

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:48 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a freak gymnastics accident, in which doctors gave him a 50 percent chance of surviving, defied the odds once again by walking the stage at Texas Tech University in Lubbock this weekend, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Blake Hyland gave his “guns up” as he accepted his degree in Communications with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies through the Texas Tech University at Waco program.

McLennan Community College held the commencement ceremony at the United Supermarkets Arena at the Lubbock campus Saturday morning.

KWTX has followed Blake’s journey since his accident in 2014. A portion of an interview KWTX recently conducted with Blake was shown on the big screen at the commencement. The crowed cheered for Blake as it concluded before he stood up to thank the crowd for their support.

“Walking across the stage at Texas Tech University was a surreal moment as I did not think that this would have been possible just eight years ago whenever I suffered from my accident,” Blake said.  “It’s just crazy to think about where I have come in such a short amount of time.”

Blakes’ world was turned upside down when, at 14 years old, he was attempting a new gymnastics trick which involved flipping and twisting in the air and then landing on his feet in a foam pit. Blake ended up hitting his head on an exposed piece of concrete on the way down.

He was a highly skilled competitive gymnast at the time of the accident. Doctors didn’t know if Blake would live, and if he did survive, if he’d ever walk, talk or do much of anything again.

Blake has defied all odds.

Graduating college was a goal he set out for 4 ½ years ago, and this weekend, achieved it.

“It feels amazing and it’s just amazing that I’m graduating from college, especially since I suffered from a TBI in 2014 and the doctors said I wouldn’t even live after that,” Blake said.  “It’s just amazing to see where I’ve come, and I just want to thank everyone that has helped me along this path because I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Blake’s incredible road to recovery recently hit the big screen in a new documentary called ‘Hi, I’m Blake.’

It debuted on various streaming platforms and hit #2 on Apple TV.

Directed by family friend Jon Michael Simpson, the documentary details the Hylands’ struggle to paint a new picture for their lives while capturing the recovery of a boy with profound hope.

The documentary is streaming on Apple TV, Amazon, Altavod and available at www.hiImBlake.com.

Blake says he plans to use his college degree to be a child life specialist at a hospital or further his career as a professional motivational speaker.

Blake’s family and friends attended the ceremony on Saturday and continued the celebration by spending the night at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine.

On Monday, the party is moving across the border as 15 friends and family travel to Cancun, Mexico, to celebrate Blake’s graduation.