While it may have been a preview of her ultimate goal, Wednesday marked a significant moment for Temple University student Rachel Hall.
The 23-year-old lacrosse player walked across the stage during her school’s athletics ceremony over a year after she was critically injured in a hit-and-run crash. Hall, who once had a 20 percent chance of survival, is now set to walk during her graduation ceremony Friday.
"It feels great to finally be with my friends for graduation and go through all the ceremony and all the excitement that I missed," Hall told NBC10. "So I’m really happy to be back."
Few people gave Hall a chance to ever walk again — let alone survive — in the days after the hit-and-run last year. The star lacrosse goalie was riding her bicycle near Temple’s campus on April 29, 2015 when she was struck by a 2012 Mitsubishi Gallant.
The driver, later identified as 19-year-old Rashan Roberts, fled the scene. He was arrested and sentenced to 11 ½ to 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to the hit-and-run. Police said he only had his learner’s permit at the time of the crash.
Hall suffered severe head trauma and a badly broken leg. Determined to overcome her injuries, she endured grueling rehab and therapy. She still attends therapy sessions five days a week, according to her mother.
"It’s a miracle that she’s where she is now," said Kathy Hall. "I never expected it. All of this is from her. It’s her work."
Rachel Hall, who dreams of becoming a police officer, said she always knew she’d achieve her goal of overcoming life-threatening injuries and walking again.
"I always had a very positive personality even before this," she said. "I knew there was no reason to be negative about it because it won’t help me at all."