Student Shaquille Harris is embracing the new year with a profound sense of gratitude after recovering from a life-threatening accident. Immediately unaware of the scope of his injuries after falling off an all-terrain vehicle in January 2021, the Keiser University junior was airlifted to the hospital and fell into a brief coma.

Although his reflex reaction after recovering consciousness was to get back to his normal routine, his body told another story.

“The first thing I told the nurse was ‘why am I here, I have to go back to school because I have practice,’ recalled Harris, a Seahawk basketball player who shared that when he eventually came to terms with the fact that he had suffered internal bleeding along with a fractured skull and ear, he questioned whether he’d be able to return to normal activities.

The cloud of uncertainty slowly lifted as a loving group of supporters stepped in to help.

“I want to thank my mom and my sister for everything they did for me during the whole recovery process. Without them I don’t know if I would have made it back to the basketball court,” smiled Harris whose close friends also joined the tag team, caring for him for over a month. “I appreciate all of the prayers and the support of my friends who helped keep my mom strong while helping me get back on my feet. I’m also thankful to God for getting me through the terrifying accident,” he said.

While Harris was concentrating on recovery, his Keiser University Seahawk basketball teammates and coaching staff were also motivated to make a mark in his name and went forward to dedicate their Sun Conference Tournament Championship win in his honor. The tribute touched him profoundly. “It was sad not to be on the court, but I had faith that they would win the championship,” smiled Harris who learned of the triumph thanks to a postgame locker room call that reinforced his will to one day join them on the court. “I was dedicated to getting back in the gym and went straight to working out every day after the doctor told me that I had fully healed,” he said.

And the diligence paid off, as he was voted the Sun Conference Player of the Week immediately upon his return to the team. “It is a blessing to have Shaq back with us. His character and leadership outweigh his talent, and he means so much to this team. May this be a life lesson for him moving forward and a reminder to all that safety always comes first,” said Seahawk Basketball Head Coach Marcus Bryant who’s known Harris since his days as an American High School student in Miami, Florida.

The season of healing and introspection has had value in a sense, as Harris shared that he’s learned to view life and the people around him through new lenses. “Appreciate everything, because at any moment you can lose it all. Never doubt yourself and push yourself even harder to be better than you were before,” reflected Harris who hopes to play basketball professionally overseas after college.

A recipient of Keiser University’s Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) grant, Harris is also thankful for the financial support available to learners. “I feel like these funds are very important because many students don’t have the resources to get through college and this helps them. It’s very important to me to be able to complete my education. I want to graduate from college, and it’s not just for me but for my mom,” he said.

Keiser University’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration focuses on a more in-depth study of the functional areas of business, communication skills, ethical business practices, and technology skills needed in today’s global business environment. The program offers various concentrations that allow students to specialize in a specific business discipline to enhance their career opportunities within that field.  The program includes opportunities for students to apply skills and knowledge learned throughout the program.

Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and was ranked No. 11 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Reports in 2021.