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Grainger Co. man teaching virtually after traumatic brain injury

Doctors said he would never speak again, but now a Grainger County man has nearly completed his first year teaching virtually.
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 6:47 PM EDT
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BLAINE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Doctors said he would never speak again, but now a Grainger County man has nearly completed his first year teaching virtually. Austin McGhee, now 24, was a senior at Grainger High School when his car crashed into a tree on his way to work one Saturday morning in 2014.

He got a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for four and a half months. “I was still able to form words and stuff, which the doctors thought that I may not ever speak again,” said McGhee.

It was the walking, tying his shoes, and using a butter knife, along with other physical tasks that took a lot of time. He uses his right hand for the majority of tasks including typing. “My left hand kind of shakes when I do things that are fine motor like trying to touch my nose,” said McGhee.

When he began college he started by taking one class at a time.

McGhee said, “It is most definitely a miracle.”

This school year marks his first teaching students virtually through Tennessee Virtual Academy, a free, online, public school. “It is a challenge at times but it is very rewarding because I’m able to see them gain understanding and watch them grow throughout the school year,” said McGhee.

He teaches 31 second grade students math and science.

“One of the reasons I applied there was because I wanted to leave an impact on kids across the state.”

He’s grateful to live his dream despite having overcome many obstacles he’s faced along the way.

“I thank God every day for it,” explained McGhee. “For allowing me to come out of that and be doing as well as I am today and being able to teach.”

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