NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A speeding car slammed into a De La Salle football player last month, throwing his body into the air and onto hot pavement.
Jacolby Hankton survived and is in the hospital. The dream of a football career helps push him through the struggle and the pain.
"How you feeling son?" his dad Eddie Hankton asked. "You know God is good, you making a speedy recovery."
Jacolby is on new turf, a room at Children's Hospital. His football coach, his school principal and his parents are just part of the supportive force there for him during his recovery.
"The police officer was like, I was supposed to be dead," Jacolby said.
Jacolby was a standout defensive back at De La Salle heading into his sophomore year. He was on a bike headed to Woodmere Park in Harvey On July 21 to work out with a friend. A driver in a speeding car turned his world upside down.
"He swerved in the bike lane and hit me," Jacolby said. "I don't know what happened after that. I remember being on the ground and the ground was so hot, like 140 degrees."
Police say 19-year-old Lavanta Carto hit Jacolby, on the run from police in a stolen 2014 Honda Accord. Police say he knocked Jacolby into the air and onto the ground, breaking ribs, puncturing his lung and injuring his spleen.
"I looked over at my arm and seen my bone, and once I seen that I went out again," he said. "I was thinking, stay alive, stay alive, stay alive."
JPSO Deputy Shane Rivolo was in the area when the call came out about a stolen car.
"When I pulled up over here he was there in the street, right in the middle," he said.
Rivolo saw the damage to Jacolby's arm and used a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Deputies carry it as part of their uniform.
"I was scared. If I can't play football, what I'm gonna do?" Jacolby said. "Since I was little, my biggest dream was to go on to college ball."
He was well on his way. Jacolby was set to start for the Cavaliers this fall as a sophomore.
"You got to be a special player to start at our level," said De La Salle coach Ryan Manale. "Our kids miss him."
His smile and hunger to work hard is missing at practice.
"He's a very positive person," said teammate Noah Devlin. "He's going to take this as motivation and not take anything for granted."
"He's been having no less than 25 or 30 visitors a day," his mom said.
The Hanktons watch their son's slow recovery, refusing to be bitter toward a suspect in a stolen car that could have taken his life.
"We want to reach out to him and and let him know he don't have to go that route stealing cars. More he could be doing with his life," said Eddie Hankton.
"I say, God, thank you for putting this as part of my testimony and my story knowing it's a reason for everything that happened," Jacolby said.
The coach says he's confident Jacolby will be back next year, but Jacolby is already looking ahead with a message for LSU's Coach Ed Ogeron.
"Coach, give me an invite to one of the camps coach O. I'll be healthy and ready to go," he said from a hospital bed.
Jacolby has had more than eight surgeries on his arm, and he's been in the hospital for three weeks.
His parents have set up a Go Fund Me account ( http://bit.ly/2vrs4TK ) in his name to help with expenses.