One year ago, Sean English’s world went dark.
The Northville teen was hit by a car and lost his foot while trying to help others. Laying on the highway screaming in pain, with his crying mother laying on top of him to settle him down, Sean thought he was dying.
Exactly 13 months later, to the day, on a glorious warm afternoon at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, the resilient teenager’s world lit back up.
He ran again, for his high school track team, one last time.
“I always knew I’d run again. I just didn’t know when,” said Sean, who on Wednesday ran his first competitive race since the 2017 accident with the help of a prosthetic leg.
Donning his father’s maroon and white 1979-81 U-D High School jersey, Sean ran the 400 meters — one lap around the track — before a roaring crowd that took to its feet as he rounded the corner to make the final stretch.
He was in excruciating pain. His legs ached. He was tired. At the halfway mark, he didn’t think he’d make the final stretch.
But then he saw his teammates and opponents from two Catholic schools rush the sideline, clapping, cheering. He heard the crowd in the stands yelling his name. Everyone was on their feet.
Then, he brought it home.
“It must have been in God’s hands,” Sean said afterward. “I finished strong.”
After Sean crossed the finish, his mother and sister embraced him in their arms —his mom telling him through tears, “Oh my God, you’re so strong!”
Perhaps the most emotional moment of the day came when Sean hugged his father, Sean, a 38-year track coach who oversaw his son’s career and inspired him to run.
“I did it,” Sean said through tears while hugging his dad. “I did it Dad.”