Forest Lake senior makes incredible progress after icy crash

At the time of the accident, no one knew if a Forest Lake High School student would survive, but 18-year-old Jessica Erickson is now in rehab at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul and making incredible progress.

More: Forest Lake senior fights for life after icy crash

It's Erickson's third medical facility in this long journey. She still cannot walk, but she's finally talking and setting goals for her future.

She says it's hard to focus because of the brace, two metal rods, and dozens of screws stabilizing her neck, and understandably, the senior is just not ready to reveal the way she currently looks. For Erickson's dad, her look is the last thing on his mind. He's just enjoying all her progress.

"She's been able to have a couple bites of ice cream today, and that made her happy," he said.

While she's still months or maybe a year away from walking, she has started rehab, sitting up on her own, laughing, asking questions -- and for now, that's good enough.

In November, Erickson lost control of her pickup truck on an icy bridge as she drove to school -- her truck t-boned and torn in half. She remained in a coma for weeks, but recently came out of that, and on Christmas Day, she spoke for the first time since the accident. Now, her goal is to play basketball again.

Erickson's fellow Rangers are playing in her honor this season, wearing No. 30 on their socks.

"She would want us to work hard, have fun and enjoy the time together as a team," her teammate Chase Shortly said. "I still expect nothing less than a full recovery from Jessica."

Along with the hundreds of get well cards from classmates and the community, her team even Photoshopped her picture into their new team poster.

How you can help

Doctors aren't sure when Erickson will leave the hospital, but she's getting closer. Her family wanted to thank the community again for the unbelievable support, but she's racking up a lot of medical bills. There will be another fundraiser for her later this month. More information:

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