DECATUR, Ala. – Many have followed the tragic but inspiring story and recovery of Cole Burton, an Auburn University student who was hit by a truck after the vehicle left the road and hit two students while they were on a geology trip in the Glencoe area on May 24.
His home of Decatur rallied around him, and so did the city of Sylacauga. Cole has many ties to the Sylacauga area. Cole’s mother, Tina Howell Burton, is from the Marble City and his father, Charlie Burton is from Childersburg. Cole is also the grandson of Sylacauga’s Mack and Brenda Howell and Childersburg’s Tommy and Dana Burton.
Four months later, Cole is well on the road to recovery, but at times his future seemed uncertain. After the accident Burton was in a coma for approximately 20 days. The other student lost his hard fought battle on June 30. Although it was touch and go for a period of time, family and friends did not give up hope or stop praying.
The family was excited when Cole emerged from his coma, but also knew a long journey to recovery was ahead. Burton has been through endless rehab sessions for essentially his entire body.
Today, Cole is walking short distances without the assistance of a walker and regaining coordination in all areas. He is expected to make a full recovery.
“[Recovery] is going extremely well. I’m expecting to make a full recovery which is a miracle considering what happened,” Burton said. “I am almost to the point where I can walk and function normally”.
On Friday, Burton was honored at Decatur’s Austin High School football game where he formerly played defensive line for the Black Bears. He was named an honorary captain with the team and was honored during pregame where he joined the other team captains for the coin toss just before the game started. Players locked arms with Burton to assist him to midfield for the coin toss.
“This was a great honor – really I’m just flattered that they would think of me as somebody worthy to step on the field and represent the school,” Burton explained. “I was excited to get back and see some of my friends.”
Cole said he is planning on starting slowly and building his way back up to becoming a full-time student at Auburn University where he is a geology major and a member of the Navy ROTC with three semesters until graduation. Upon graduation, Cole plans to commission into the Navy as an officer.