Dominic “Nick” Burriel Sr. had been sitting by his son Nick Burriel Jr.’s hospital bed for 22 days waiting for a sign his son might heal from an assault that stopped his heart and cut off oxygen to his brain in late 2013. The then 23-year-old woke from his coma unable to form words, see or walk.

It took more than a year of intensive therapy at Community Regional Medical Center and at the Bakersfield Centre for Neuro Skills, but Nick Jr. is now running half-marathon races, working with his church youth group and speaking about his experience as a trauma survivor.

At the end of March, Nick Jr. was honored by the California Speech Language Hearing Association with the “Consumer of the Year” for his work in telling his story and in encouraging Fresno State students studying speech language pathology. He’s also been asked to speak at the American Trauma Society’s virtual, national conference in April.

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