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Once-comatose missionary takes first steps 4 years after wreck

BARTLETT, Tenn. (BP)–Wade Watts may not be walking on water like Peter, but for him, walking in water is every bit as miraculous.

Watts was a Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary to Peru in 1996 when he and his wife, Nancy, and their two sons, Marcus and Joshua, were involved in a serious car accident.

Watts and Marcus, then 9, fell into deep comas after the head-on collision. Doctors did not expect the father and son to live.

To everyone’s amazement, however, Marcus made a 90 percent recovery and his father recently was able to walk in a pool of water. His therapists say he is showing normal bilateral movement in his hips and gait.

“There is still a good possibility he’ll be able to walk; the only question is when,” Nancy Watts said, “It’s not if, it’s when.”

She said her husband’s recovery has been almost miraculous from the start. Watts surprised everyone by waking from his coma four months after the accident; many doctors had diagnosed him as being in a “permanent vegetative state.”

He then began rehabilitation, and a year after the accident was trying to talk. Today, Watts is able to communicate, but his speech is slurred.

The latest development came in August when Wade actually was able to walk with the help of his therapists and the water’s buoyancy.

“The major goal right now is Wade walking,” Nancy Watts said. “It’s what we’re aiming for.”

The Wattses have commented that they intend to return to the mission field.

“We would like to go back to Peru if that’s where God wants us to go back,” Nancy Watts said. “If God chooses us to be somewhere else, we’re going to try and follow his will whatever that might be.”

As for Marcus, now 14, he recently surpassed his brother in school, making the faculty honor roll. He is doing well and continuing to improve.

Watts asks those who have been praying for the family to “just persevere and praise God and keep praying for us!”

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  • Brittany Jarvis