TAMPA, Fla. — College can be full of obstacles, but for 26-year-old Avi Davidson, the challenge began before he ever made it onto the campus of the University of South Florida.
- USF graduate overcomes accident that left him disabled
- Avi Davidson paralyzed at 16 after falling off telephone pole
- Davidson also suffered severe burns, lost his left arm
- Davidson is now graduating from USF in Behavioral Health Care
On Saturday, he will be honored at his upcoming graduation.
"It reminds me of a very long path I've been on," Avi said after looking at his cap and gown.
To understand Avi's path, is to take a trip to the Northdale Soccer Park in Tampa.
At 16 years old, Avi climbed a telephone pole to take a picture of the sunset. He lost his footing and it changed his life.
"Being at the tender of age of 16, when you're supposed to be coming at the prime of your life, it kind of challenges the concept that the future is going to bright and you have everything ahead of you," Avi said.
Avi was paralyzed from the waist down, suffered severe burns on his body, and lost his left arm.
"This put everything into a tail spin," said his mom, Lea Merrill Davidson-Bern. "Who would have ever seen this coming?"
Avi admits the path hasn't always been easy, but the challenge and his faith made him stronger.
"It definitely helped me learn perspective of what actually mattered versus what did not and education mattered," Avi said.
His message for others, just keep "wheeling through life."
"It doesn't have to be wheeling, it can be walking through life," he said. "It can be rolling. It can be limping through life. Whatever it is, you're still pushing and that's all that matters."
Avi is receiving a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Health Care. He plans to continue at the University of South Florida for his Master's Degree in Social Work.
Avi wants to help youth overcome the challenges in their lives.