NEWCASTLE, Okla. (KFOR) – The Freeman family is celebrating another major milestone for Caleb Freeman.
Freeman was nearly killed when his pickup was crushed by a semi-truck a week before Christmas 2017.
In the months following the wreck, Caleb was unconscious, in a coma.
Doctors feared he might never wake up.
He did wake up, and slowly he started to heal.
The Freeman family continues to post about Caleb’s progress on Facebook.
Thousands of supporters around the world have been following along online.
Thursday night was Caleb’s ‘Senior Night’ at Newcastle High School.
Caleb’s poster is on the wall, but he hasn’t suited up since 2017.
“God is really working through me,” Caleb said. “It matters.”
He hasn’t shot the ball in regulation play on the Racers’ court in more than two years.
“Basketball season is probably one of the toughest for us because of everything that would have been with Caleb,” said Caleb’s mom, Emily Freeman. “Watching the team and knowing what he would have been doing to contribute to that, and kind of missing all that.”
Caleb began his senior year this year determined.
Before the wreck, Caleb ran varsity cross country for Newcastle. He played varsity basketball his sophomore year.
Caleb and his brother Clayton were on their way to an OU basketball game when everything changed.
After waking from a months-long coma, Caleb had to learn to speak again, to move again, and it took him a year to learn to walk.
Two years later, his physical progress has leveled off.
But there have been milestones this year.
Caleb ran with his cross country team in the fall, finishing the 5k course in 51 minutes.
He has also been practicing with the basketball team in recent weeks.
Clayton made varsity this year; this would have been their first year to play on the team together.
Intead, Caleb has been assisting off the court from the bench.
“He’s a great teammate,” said Newcastle senior Calub Hunt. “He’s encouraging. He lifts us up a lot.”
“It’s good for our team to see someone like that,” said Jessie Brown, Newcastle head coach. “He fights every day.”
On senior night, Coach Brown made an adjustment to his starting lineup.
Newcastle won the tip-off and then passed the ball to Caleb.
“It was fitting that he missed the first shot,” said Caleb’s dad, Jeremy Freeman. “He had to keep going. I love that he missed it because that speaks to his personality. He never quits.”
Caleb made the second shot.
“Maybe someone needed to see that I missed it, but I still kept going,” Caleb said.
The shots didn’t fall as the Racers had hoped. They lost 59 – 63.
It’s been a sobering week for the Newcastle community.
Last week, one of Clayton’s classmates, a sophomore, died unexpectedly in a car wreck.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” Clayton said. “It can be taken from you at any moment. So, make every moment count. it could be your last.”
The Freeman family knows there is victory in life and in death; sometimes a loss on the court is still a win in the end.
Caleb will graduate from Newcastle this spring.
He continues to do speaking engagements almost every weekend.
Caleb hopes to eventually have a career as a motivational speaker.