(ABCNEWS.GO) — Two years ago, Sam Schmid’s close encounter with death was called a “Christmas miracle.” As he lay in a coma after sustaining massive brain injuries in a car crash, doctors were discussing organ donation with his parents and ready to take him off life support.

Schmid astounded those at his hospital bedside who thought he was brain dead, raising two fingers to signal he still had life left in him. But at the time, no one knew if the Tucson, Ariz., college student would ever return to his studies — or even walk or talk again.

Today at 23, he is a force on the basketball court, enrolled in college classes and is hoping to be a veterinary technician. Schmid credits his surgeon and the Center for Transitional Neuro Rehabilitation at Barrow Neurological Institute, where he was recently discharged.

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