Mom Wakes From 5-Year Coma, Attends Son’s Senior Night Game

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As a crowd of fans gathered in the bleachers to enjoy “senior night” at a Michigan high school, one mom in the stands quickly drew national attention. She had spent nearly five years in a coma before waking and recovering enough to attend her son’s game against all odds, but the unexpected had only just begun.

Jennifer Flewellen
Jennifer Flewellen, pictured with her three sons before the accident that left her in a 5-year-coma (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Jennifer Flewellen, a dedicated mother of three who loved watching her boys play football, fell into a seemingly irreversible coma after suffering brain damage from a car crash. It was the morning of September 25, 2017, and Jennifer had just dropped her boys off at school and had begun to drive to work when she inexplicably crashed into a light pole. Sadly, doctors didn’t give Jennifer’s family much hope.

“Nobody expected her to wake up,” Peggy Means, Jennifer’s mother, recalled. “We were told all along that she has anoxia and that [with] the brain damage, she’ll never wake up.”

Despite the odds being stacked against Jennifer with a poor prognosis and little hope of recovery, Peggy refused to give up on her daughter. She visited Jennifer in the hospital every day, but she didn’t just sit quietly at her bedside. Instead, Peggy sang to her daughter and walked her up and down the hallways in hopes of keeping her mind active.

“I just believed she was in there. When you have brain damage, if I had just let her lay there and let her have no stimulation, the brain will die,” Peggy said. “She had to have stimulation, so I had to fight a lot of nurses and aids to get her up, get her in her chair, talk to her.”

Peggy Means refused to give up on Jennifer Flewellen. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

The years passed, and the Flewellen family’s nightmare continued, with Jennifer remaining unconscious in a coma as her children grew. Two of her boys completed their high school football careers, and there was little hope Jennifer’s condition would ever change. Then, as her third and final son approached his senior year, a miracle happened.

On August 25, 2022, exactly four years and 11 months after her fateful accident, Jennifer “suddenly showed a tangible sign of cognitive awareness after Peggy cracked a joke,” The Blaze reported.

“She started laughing so much that she was crying,” Peggy said. “I thought something was really bad, but then I realized she understood it, and she was laughing.”

Peggy Means never gave up on her daughter, and eventually, she received a sign that Jennifer Flewellen still had “cognitive awareness.” (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Soon enough, Jennifer opened her eyes, and her family found themselves celebrating her awakening—something they never thought they would see. Of course, they knew she would still have a long road to recovery ahead, but they realized they were experiencing something miraculous nonetheless, and doctors agreed, calling Jennifer “a living miracle,” according to WNDU.

After more than a year of recovery with three hours of therapy every day, the Flewellen family experienced another miracle. On October 20, 2023, Jennifer had recovered enough that she was able to attend “senior night” at Niles High School in Niles, Michigan, where her youngest son, Julian Means-Flewellen, was a high school football star.

Jennifer Flewellen
Jennifer Flewellen attended her son’s senior night, where she proved to be a valuable good luck charm. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

With a crowd of fans gathered in the bleachers, there was so much at stake. The visiting team from Paw Paw was undefeated, and the game would determine the winner of the Wolverine Conference. And, with his mother in attendance following a 5-year coma that caused her to miss out on her other sons’ senior nights, the game was particularly special for Julian. Luckily for Julian, his mom turned out to be the perfect “good luck charm.”

Indeed, he gave quite the performance for his mother, scoring three touchdowns as Jennifer miraculously witnessed the Niles Vikings trouncing the Paw Paw Red Wolves, 56-18, thanks in part to her son’s accomplishments during the game. In fact, on the second play of the game, Julian took the ball 87 yards to the house for a touchdown before he then tacked on two more touchdowns.

Making matters all the more miraculous, the Vikings secured their first conference title in more than 20 years. Of course, Julian made sure to pay tribute to his mom, who received a standing ovation as she accompanied him onto the field, where he was recognized as a senior and a team captain.

“She’s the strongest woman I know,” Julian said as others, such as friend Cassie Lee, remarked, “It’s nothing short of a miracle she’s here tonight.”

It was clear that Julian was proud of Jennifer as he smiled for pictures and gave his mom a quick kiss before heading out to play. His happy demeanor was a vast change from the crying and “bunch of emotions” he said he felt after receiving the devastating news that his mother was in a coma and seeing “the damage she was in” after her accident. Thankfully, senior night was a much happier day, and things just kept getting better for the Flewellens.

Unexpected miracles continued to happen for the Flewellen family after the game. As Jennifer and Julian received attention for her attendance and Julian’s stellar senior night performance, Peggy mentioned they were throwing a Hail Mary to get Jennifer into Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thanks to TV viewers and readers, her family received the news that she was accepted into the facility, which is known as one of the best in the country, NBC 15 reported.

After receiving the life-changing news, Peggy said she believes Jennifer will be able to slowly relearn how “to sit up on her own” and other “small things that we all take for granted,” but “the ultimate goal” is regaining her ability to walk. While this might seem like a lofty ambition, Jennifer Flewellen has repeatedly defied the odds, and regardless of any further successes she may or may not achieve, she’s already proved that miracles can happen when people don’t give up.