Southside High School Student Who Was Hit By Car Honored At Rivalry Game

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Fort Smith Southside High School student Thomas Northrup nearly lost his life after getting hit by a truck last month. Tonight (Feb. 23) he was honored by his school at the school's rival basketball game against Northside.

Thousands of fans stood up and cheered as Thomas and his mom walked to the center of the court.

Just week ago he said he was sitting in the hospital waiting for a moment like this.

"I just really wanted to come back. (It was) a lot of excitement and my heart was beating a lot, a lot of excitement from everything," Northrup said.

Days after the accident, doctors didn't have a clear timeline for Northrup's future, but now, he's able to thank the community for the very first time in person.

"It was really awesome, everybody stood up and that was really neat," Neil Johnston, who attended the event, said.

"That's just the best feeling," Melissa Rainwater, who also attended the event, said. "He's so blessed and he's gotten so much support from the community. We're so happy for him."

Northrup's mom Jackye said the reaction from both school was bigger than she expected.

"I knew it was going to be loud, but there was a lot of people, so it felt good," Jackye said.

That support from the community is what helped Northrup get to this point. He said he's excited for the next step.

"I get to graduate in May. After that, I get to go to college here. That`ll be great," Northrup added.

A story that many are calling a "miracle" is inspiring people from all over and a community that is thankful to have Thomas back home.

"It`s just unbelievable," Johnston said. "That just goes to show you, you put your mind to it, you can do anything."

Northrup and his mother will go to Little Rock soon to visit with doctors who will perform surgery on his eyes.

Next for Northrup academically, he'll finish an English and Math class at home before graduating high school.