LAS VEGAS -- Survivors of traumatic accidents speak out as they reunite with the doctors and nurses who saved their lives.
Giulian Grasso, 16, said he dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL, a dream that keeps him going despite an accident that nearly took his life.
"Their motto is, ‘The only easy day was yesterday,' and that pretty much keeps me going every day," Giulian said.
Last April, the teenager fell off a skateboard and suffered massive injuries to his brain.
He was airlifted to University Medical Center's trauma center where he underwent six brain surgeries and was on life support for more than 40 days.
"We didn't know the direction he was going the first two or three days of his brain injury, (it was) so severe," UMC trauma Dr. Michael Fildes said.
On Monday, when Fildes saw Giulian for the first time since the teenager left the hospital, Fildes said he was thrilled at how well Giulian is recovering.
Once a year, the UMC trauma center reunites doctors and nurses with their patients who have made amazing strides, surviving everything from a fire to a car crash.
"This is the greatest, our happiest day of the year," Fildes said.
Every year that UMC has hosted the event, the number of survivors increases. The trauma center's survival rate is up to 97 percent, including patients whose chances of survival were once less than 1 percent.
Doctors credit medical advances and teamwork of everyone from first responders to nurses and rehabilitation specialists, along with the will to live of the patients themselves.
"Never give up hope," Guilian said. "You will continue to progress everyday. Just try hard and I promise you will get back."
That promise the 16-year-old has already made to himself as he continues to get better everyday.
The UMC trauma center admits more than 2,000 patients a year. Almost 40 percent of the cases are related to motor vehicle crashes.