FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) — When the Franklin teenager is sitting at home or in the middle of therapy, he gets frustrated that he's not out riding bikes and skateboards or playing football or basketball with his friends.

But none of those activities are options for Jason Andrews. At least not now.

He can ride his bike as long as he's wearing his helmet, but his skateboard and contact sports all are off limits.

Going to a friend's house also could be dangerous. Andrews has problems with his short-term memory, and if he starts walking from his house, he can easily forget where he's going and how to get back home. He's working weekly with a therapist to rebuild his memory, but he and his mother, Kyan Botts, know it might never return to normal.

Andrews is still recovering from the physical and cognitive injuries caused when he was struck by a train on March 5 in Franklin. The accident left Andrews hospitalized for two months. He's had to relearn to walk, talk and feed himself.

The 15-year-old has recovered enough to begin his freshman year at Franklin Community High School.

Andrews is looking forward to beginning math and science courses and will go to school all day. He'll work with a behavior coach at the school who will ensure he gets from class to class without getting lost. If school gets overwhelming, he may attend courses for a half-day at a time, Botts said.

As Andrews is starting and learning how to succeed in high school, his mother, who's spent the past five months helping her son recover, is trying to accept that she can't always protect him from another head injury.

"If I had my way about it, he would never leave my side," Botts told the Daily Journal ( ).

Andrews had been walking along the railroad tracks between State and Monroe streets in Franklin on his way to a friend's house the day he was struck by the train. He walked the route often, usually at least once a day.

"I never thought I would get hit by (a train)," Andrews said.

He had been wearing ear buds and listening to music while he was walking, which meant he couldn't hear the train or its horn as it approached from behind him.

Shortly after Andrews was struck, Botts' friend called to tell her something was happening along the train tracks Andrews regularly walked. Botts called Andrews' cellphone three times, and when he didn't answer, she drove to the tracks.

Botts told emergency workers who she was and started asking if anyone had seen her son. Crews told her that he had been taken to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital. They also asked her to identify a pair of his shoes, which had been found near the tracks.

"The only thing I could think of was, is my son alive?" Botts said.

Andrews' brain was swelling and bleeding, and he had facial fractures along with internal injuries. Doctors were unsure whether he would live during his first week in the hospital and kept him in a medically induced coma.

After the first week, Andrews slowly showed signs of improvement. The brain swelling improved, and he began moving his hands and feet. After three weeks in the hospital, he began opening his eyes on his own.

"That was like a breath of fresh air. That was like my light in the dark," Botts said.

After four weeks at Methodist, Andrews was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children to begin rehabilitation. Hospital therapists had Andrews lift 10-pound weights to rebuild his strength, and they taught him how to walk and maintain his balance. He also underwent speech therapy and completed math and language arts lessons, Botts said.

Therapy exhausted Andrews, who initially fought with the therapists. But he slowly regained his speech, was soon walking on his own, and got to go home April 20.

Andrews will always have aftereffects from the accident to deal with, but it's hard to know how severe they'll be.

To rebuild his memory, he works with a therapist to solve detailed word problems and crossword puzzles, but it's hard to know whether his memory will fully return, Botts said.

Andrews may eventually be able to play basketball with his friends one day, but it won't be soon, and he won't be able to play on a team. Doctors have told Andrews if he's hit hard in the head a second time, he may not recover, Botts said.

While Andrews can't take walks as long or as far as he used to, he still makes short trips around Franklin, and he stays far away from railroad tracks. Each trip out make Botts nervous, but she knows she can't watch over her son forever. She has to give him the time to show others and himself how he's recovering.

"I'm scared to death. I'm nervous, but I'm ecstatic all in one," Botts said.


Information from: Daily Journal,