‘I can see myself out there playing again’: Tri-C basketball player paralyzed in crash hopes to play again

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CLEVELAND — Life can change in an instant and when you least expect it and no one knows better than Antonio Mason who starts every day the same way, playing basketball.

Mason was the captain of the Cuyahoga Community College basketball team where he averaged 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

“That`s all I ever cared about growing up basketball, basketball, basketball, it was basketball every second I could remember,” said Mason.

It was at the intersection of Kinsman and Ensign in Cleveland where Antonio Mason`s dreams and life changed in an instant.

“Everything has been different, my life has turned upside down over night,” Mason said.

Mason was on his way to the Horseshoe Casino in his 2000 Monte Carlo in the early morning hours of October 12th, 2014 when he was hit by a drunk driver.

“My car was rear-ended by a car that was doing 101 miles-per-hour and then all I remember is a lady holding me in her arms telling me everything was going to be okay,” said Mason.

Mason fractured his vertebrae in two places, his neck was severely fractured, he had 5 screws placed in his back, 2 in his neck, he had broken ribs, a concussion, and was paralyzed from the chest down.

“They said if I would have been hit in a different space I could have been dead,” Mason recalled.

October 30th, 2014, 18 days after being severely hurt in a car accident, Mason became a father.

“I want to hold him, I have to hold him like this and play with him while I`m in bed,” said Mason.

Today Mason continues his therapy at Avenue Care and Rehabilitation Center in Cleveland.  He continues to play basketball every day from the comforts of his bed, hoping one day to lace up his shoes and play for real.

“I can see myself out there playing again,” said Mason. “Hopefully, just have to keep my spirits up and keep the faith up.”

Doctors say it could be up to a year before they know if Mason will be able to walk again.  He had just made his final car payment on the Monte Carlo the same day he was hit from behind.