Three months after crash, losing legs, Columbus basketball star A.J. Davis not finished fighting


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – On May 5 of this year, a driver struck someone along the exit ramp from I-70 westbound to Hamilton Road in Columbus.

The next day, everyone learned the victim played for a local, semi-professional basketball team. His injuries were so severe, doctors had to amputate his legs.

A.J. Davis’ first extended interview since that crash was with NBC4 anchor Kerry Charles.

“I’m doing great,” he said. “I mean, that’s everyone’s biggest question when they come in contact with me, how am I doing mentally, spiritually, and physically. I’m pretty much doing good.”

In addition to his injuries, Davis was also isolated while in the hospital due to a positive COVID-19 test.

This all started when Davis saw a homeless man asking for help. Davis said his daughter, who is now 6, sat in the car as he went to get groceries out of his trunk to give to the man.

That’s when a driver slammed into him.

At the time, investigators believed the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At last check, that driver has not been charged.

Since his injuries, Davis has been finding his way forward.

VIDEO: A witness describes what he saw when he came across the crash that injured A.J. Davis

“I just go on day to day and people are just asking me, like, ‘How can you just wake up in such high spirits and have a smile on your face and act like it didn’t happen?’” Davis said. “Because I’m not going to let it stop me from doing the things that I want to do. Yeah, I might not have the lower extremities to do the things I want to do, but I can still do other things as well, so I won’t let it stop me.”

In high school, Davis played at Linden-McKinley, leading his team to title games. He joined the basketball team at the University of Wyoming before transferring to James Madison University. He also played overseas.

Joseph Priest was at the scene that night in May when the crash happened. He called 911.

“Man, it was something like out of a movie,” Priest said. “It was gruesome. It was — I don’t wish anyone to see anything like that ever. It was hard to comprehend for quite a bit of time.”

Priest said he saw Davis, his legs nonfunctional, drag himself from the back of his vehicle into the front seat. Davis said he needed to check on his daughter, and have her call her mother.

“He was coherent the whole time,” Priest said. “He crawled to his driver’s seat and just sat there.”

Above: NBC 4’s Kerry Charles talks about interviewing A.J. Davis.

Davis said that while he wants to be angry, that isn’t what God has planned for him.

“I want to carry that pain and anger, but if I carry that, that will be stopping my blessings and what He has planned for me,” he said.

That philosophy carries over to the driver of the vehicle that hit him.

“‘There’s no pain in my heart toward you, I don’t hold anything against you,'” Davis said he would say to her. “‘Like, yeah, the situation did change my life, but there’s no grudge or anything I’m holding or hate towards you.'”

Davis continues to keep busy. In July, James Madison University asked him to coach the school’s alumni team in July’s The Basketball Tournament.

As for questioning the night that changed his life…

“It’s just a hit or miss,” Davis said. “It’s like, ‘Why me?’ But, then again, I was always taught not to question the Man upstairs and His ability and what He has planned for you. So, I pretty much take it day by day and look at it like He has something bigger for me in the plan. Maybe it was a journey for me that I procrastinated too long and this is what it took for me to take that jump into something different. So, I’m just looking at it like that.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover Davis’ medical and living expenses.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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