Written by Carlirose Powell

Haley Peterson, from Jacksonville, Florida, had her whole college life planned out.

She was 18 years old and overwhelmed with high school life, spending countless hours at practice for her high school swim team. She worked so hard that Florida State awarded her a scholarship to swim for them. Life was looking good and she looked forward to this new chapter in her life.

The month of April came and went just as quickly, and Peterson found herself driving a winding road she had taken over a thousand times; nothing new to her. She began the turns just as she had plenty of times before, when suddenly the steering wheel to her truck locked.

Peterson panicked as she swerved into the other lane and saw a car coming around the corner. The airbags went off as the car hit head on.

She could only hear ringing in her ears. Her first instinct she had was to scream out for her mom, but she was alone. She felt numb, her ribs ached and her legs tingled.

Peterson examined her body. She looked at her fingers and they moved just fine. Her eyes made their way to her hands and arms. They were shaking but not broken.

Her legs were a different story. Both femurs broke clean in half. As soon as she saw them, the pain kicked in.

Spending six months in the hospital and nine months in rehab to learn to walk again, she started thinking about the future. Little did she know, her mom was one step ahead, applying to BYU-Idaho for her. It was the farthest she’s ever been from home, but it was a step in the right direction to take back her independence.

She felt alone at times and cried herself to sleep in pain. However, looking at the scars from the accident helped her to remember what she had overcome.