CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Ben Abercrombie is always thinking about what's next.
His life at Harvard started two years ago as a freshman defensive back on the football team. While trying to make his first tackle in his first game, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury. A hit he says he made countless times, but the result of this one was much different.
Through surgeries, therapy, and his parents' help and determination, he's improved greatly. The milestones in his journey are going at a different pace than what the former defensive back is used to.
"It's just been a long, long process health-wise and logistics wise," he told Boston 25 News in an exclusive interview Thursday.
Make no mistake, he still cherishes the game. He even visited Harvard football practice with his family on Thursday.
"I love football. I guess I haven't seen it live in a while," he remarked.
While Ben and his family are thrilled that he's back at Harvard, they say he couldn't have done it alone. El Jefe's is one of the many businesses that have helped him out.
John Schall, the owner, has a brother named Mike, who was paralyzed years ago. Tears came to his eyes as he spoke of his fundraisers for Ben.
"I can't help it when I do this, it brings up so many memories," he said as he began to get choked up.
Schall has raised over $58,000 over the past two years for Ben's care.
And while Ben's smile only fades as he describes the goals that are unfinished, he remains determined.
"My goal is definitely to walk again," he said. "I guess to be 100% like I used to be, that's always been the goal and it still is the goal."