On Tuesday the good news came: Blair Holliday had opened his eyes and given a thumbs up.
The Duke sophomore wide receiver, who starred in football and basketball at the Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, had been in a coma since being airlifted to the University of North Carolina Trauma Center after a horrific jet ski accident with a Duke teammate on July 4.
The accident occurred on Lake Tillery, about 125 miles south of the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina.
Today, the nursing student who helped save Holliday's life, Chelsea Gibbons, is meeting with his parents, Leslie and Rick, for the first time.
Gibbons, who attends Pitt Community College in Greenville, North Carolina, where she is studying to be a nurse, was on the scene after July 4th revelers saw or heard the crash that Holliday had with fellow Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
"He was unresponsive and lifeless in the water," Gibbons told Steve Wiseman of the Herald Sun in North Carolina.
It had been reported earlier, by Andrew Jones of Fox Sports Carolinas, that another witness on the scene that day, Matt Johnson, had believed Holliday was dead.
"I heard a very loud plastic-on-plastic body bang, looked up and saw Blair in the air," Johnson said. "People were yelling to call 911 and running toward the dock."
Johnson said, according the the Fox Sports Carolina story, that about 15 to 20 people attending a party nearby ran toward the dock and Johnson also ran there to help lift Holliday from the jet ski onto the dock.
"To be honest with you, he looked dead," Johnson said. "...But his stomach moved, and it moved again and then was moving up and down.
"His head was so swollen. When I saw the picture on TV, it didn't even look like the same person I saw on the dock."
Johnson credited a group of apparent strangers for the subsequent coordinated effort to help Holliday before EMS personnel arrived. But he specifically singled out Gibbons.
"He stopped breathing," Johnson said. "He stopped two or three times. She saved his life."
Holliday was transported by Montgomery County EMS to the Stanley County Regional Medical Center, then airlifted last Thursday to the University of North Carolina Trauma Center.
He was listed in critical, but stable condition, and there were conflicted reports about whether he was in a coma. But the news two days ago, that he had opened his eyes and given a thumbs up, seemed to confirm that Holliday had been in a coma.
According to the Herald Sun, Gibbons, 23, who identified herself as a nursing student, had been trained in CPR and in June had completed a class to renew her certification. But she had never performed the life-saving procedure on a live person.
"I started assessing all his injuries," Gibbons told Wiseman of the News Herald."I could find a pulse and there was shallow breathing, but then I lost his pulse. I checked his neck [for a pulse], but he had injuries there. His bottom jaw was split. He was bleeding from his mouth and chin."
Gibbons told the Herald News that Holliday "looked like a rag doll when they pulled him out of the water."
After she accessed that most of Holliday's injuries appeared to be to his head, she checked his mouth to make sure nothing was blocking his airway. When Holliday stopped breathing, Gibbons performed CPR.
"His pulse was so weak," Gibbons said. "I could find it, but it was weak. Then he took a breath."
Johnson, a former high school football and lacrosse player, told the Herald News that what Gibbons did was, "Amazing...She saved his life. She was so calm for someone who was having to do what she was doing."
And today, Gibbons, who is a former North Carolina State cheerleader who transferred to Pitt Community College to study nursing, was said to be meeting with Holliday's parents for the first time.
"I'm really glad I'm in this profession," she had told the News Herald. "I like the feeling that I've actually helped someone."
“The people who own the lake house [where the accident occurred] spoke with his parents and they wanted to meet me,” Gibbons said. “I have wanted to visit, but I wanted to respect their privacy.”
Following her visit, Gibbons said Holliday “looked great,” adding, “I feel much better now that I’ve seen him.”
Today, a promising student-athlete continues to recover. Blair Holliday is still fighting for his life. The treatment he has received at the University of North Carolina Hospitals has obviously played a huge role in that fight.
Holliday's teammates, former and current, and friends have said that his strong will and character have been vital in the fight.
And, in part of a statement released Tuesday, his parents said, "We firmly believe in the power of prayer and are confident that everyone's efforts have made a positive impact on Blair..."