ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – In August of 2019, there was a crash involving two vehicles on Route 13, near the entrance to Buttermilk Falls in Tompkins County.
This collision resulted in three people being transported to Cayuga Medical Center for minor injuries, one person was transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA for non-life threatening injuries and one person airlifted to Robert Packer, for serious injuries.
The victim airlifted was Nick Viselli, who was 17-years-old at that time. Viselli is currently a senior at Notre Dame High School in Elmira.
Viselli was on his way back home from hockey practice with two of his friends when the other vehicle crashed head-on. Many officials such as the New York State Police, New York State Park Police, Ithaca Police and Fire Department and others assistant the scene.
His mother, Katie tells 18 News: “We were devastated…we did not know what was going to happen.” She continued on to say “we just clung onto each other and took it one moment at a time.”
Viselli spent one month in this hospital and underwent multiple surgeries for multiple injuries, including a fractured hip and swelling brain.
“One of the things the doctors prepared us for is that his personality may be very different and thankfully that’s not happening either,” said Lou Viselli, Nicks’s father. “He’s such a positive, optimistic kid that we’re just thrilled to have him the way he is, in more ways than just one.”
In September, Nick returned home from the hospital with friends and family lined up on both sides of the street, cheering for him.
When he stepped out of his parent’s car, everyone flooded their lawn and hearts with smiles, cheers, love, and support.
“The support this community has shown me is just astronomical,” said Nick. “I can’t even put it into words how amazing it feels…I’m just thankful for the people in my life and people that surround me and in this community.”
There was also another event in October at the Joycrest Skating Rink in Elmira, that was open to the public. Many classmates and other friends attended the event to skate and see Nick and his speedy recovery.
When 18 News asked Nick what were his next steps, he answered by saying: “I wanna make the best out of every day, I have a real appreciation for life after all of this.”