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Dre Nuzum's road to recovery: 'I'm just thankful to be alive' after trying to flip over moving car

'I want to keep teaching, inspiring students'
Posted at 3:13 AM, Dec 23, 2018
and last updated 2019-08-02 18:40:35-04

FLORENCE, Ky. — It’s been a long road to recovery for stuntman, tumbler, dancer and instructor Dre Nuzum, badly hurt in a stunt gone wrong over the summer.

He’s still on crutches after trying - and failing - to flip over a moving car five months ago, but 9 On Your Side Photojournalist Scott Wegener shows how Nuzum is getting back on his feet.

WATCH Nuzum talk about his long road to recovery in the video player above. Read Nuzum's comments below:

"When I was unconscious, it felt like a dream. Like when I was in the hospital and everyone was saying, 'Oh, I hope you get better,' and I could hear it but I couldn't open my eyes. I was like, 'What is going on?'

"It took me a while to process what had happened because I was still in concussion mode. Um, I was probably in concussion mode for about a month, so it took me 20 days to realize, 'I did try to flip over a car.' But I don't remember the act of flying up in the air and landing on the ground like that.

"I was always watching stunt videos and dance videos on YouTube growing up, and I was like, 'Oh, I can do that. ' I was in a real coma for about a couple days, then they put me in a medical coma and kept me out for a week and a half. I had a bruised rib, broken leg, broken finger, concussion, broken vertebrae - my injuries were just so severe, my bones were sticking out of my leg.

"It was very humbling, this whole experience. They said, 'Honestly, you may not be able to do the same things you did before,' but, um, that's motivation. I want someone to tell me I can't do something so I can prove them wrong.

"Baby steps right now and then eventually I want to keep teaching, inspiring students. I mean, you never know how much you inspire someone until you show up. I just always had this drive to life... that there's more than just sitting down and watching TV. I need to be doing something.

"I mascotted for two and a half years in college. People knew it was me because I could tumble in the suit. I was so confident that ... I'm just thankful to be alive. But I know I have a lot of people in my corner rooting for me, and if I make it out of this 100 percent, it will be an inspiration to a lot of my dance students, a lot of friends and family."

It was an emotional reunion for Nuzum when he returned to the gym for the first time since the accident and saw his students. Emotional for the students, too, to see their teacher still on crutches.

"'Long time no see'" Nuzum said to them.

"It's just overwhelming. A lot of them have been waiting for me to come back. It's been so long. It's nice to actually see them. Honestly what drives me to do that, I know I like making people happy.

"Some people are inspired by what I do. 'I overcame a broken leg, like, you can overcome your struggles.' "