ATHENS Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis is cleared to run and lift with the football team, but he has not been cleared for contact and doctors will continue to closely monitor his recovery with no set timeline.
"The doctors are moving D'Wan along slowly, but we realize D'Wan could have died with the sort of operation we had, so we feel very blessed," Terence Mathis, D'Wan's father, told DawgNation on Tuesday.
"The doctor said the fact he's being cleared to work out just six weeks after surgery is amazing, and that it typically doesn't happen like this."
Mathis, a freshman from Romulus, Mich., underwent emergency brain surgery at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center on May 22 after telling Georgia trainers he was experiencing headaches.
UGA medical director Ron Courson immediately diagnosed the threat and rushed Mathis to the emergency room where an MRI revealed fluid build-up around his brain.
The surgery took place within a couple of hours of Mathis arriving at the hospital.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart personally oversaw and ensured the family's transportation from Detroit to Athens that day.
The family said the level of support and personal attention Smart and the UGA community has given his son has been overwhelming.
"We thank God for Ron Courson's expertise and his medical team, because without them I don't think all of this would have been possible for D'Wan," Terence Mathis said. "I believe Georgia saved my son's life.
"Piedmont Dr. (Kimberly) Walpart performed the surgery, and it's clear she really cares about D'Wan with her bedside manner and all the attention to detail."
Mathis was released from intensive care four days after the surgery (May 26) and has been on antibiotics while rehabilitating these past five weeks, gaining back the 11 pounds he had lost as a result of the surgery.
Piedmont administrators, doctors and nurses held a celebration for D'Wan and his family on Sunday after his "Pick Line" ( Peripherally inserted central catheter) was removed, another step forward in his recovery.
"The University of Georgia is a very special place," Terence Mathis said. "Everyone here is a part of the family, and you can see that with how D'Wan's coaches and teammates have been there and treated him through all of his.
"D"Wan has never felt disconnected, and that's because of Kirby Smart's leadership in this program."
Indeed, Mathis has hosted Georgia football recruits during big visit weekends, letting them know that he also feels UGA saved his life with its responsiveness and actions.
There are still more tests and hurdles ahead for the young quarterback, and he's aware of the challenges.
"D'Wan understands the process, and that he's a part of the future of Georgia football," Terence Mathis said. "So there's no need to take any unnecessary risks.
"There's just so many people for us to thank, the Georgia community has been amazing to D'wan and our family, and there's no better place he could be as he goes through this."
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