Chance’s Story

Site created on March 3, 2019

We. Are. So. Fortunate.

Beyond fortunate, TBT. And, yes, the doctor did use the “M word.” As in miracle.

On February 25, El Segundo High School honor student and varsity baseball player Chance Nelson was attending his fifth period of the day when he fainted in the dark room of his photo class. Chance, 18, thought he had a bit of a cold over the previous weekend. Our current understanding at this point is that, unbeknownst to Chance, he was suffering from pneumonia. That pulmonary illness sapped his strength enough to make him lightheaded. As Chance fell to the floor, his head hit once on a desk and struck a second time on the dark room’s floor, resulting in two fractures to his skull and a traumatic brain injury. Unconscious for several minutes, Chance was rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he spent five days, including several hours in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit.

While at the hospital, Chance showed immense resolve in the face of unimaginable hardship. But those of you who know Chance understand that this young man loves to square up on a challenge. Chance loves to prove doubters wrong. Chance loves to fight the good fight.

On Saturday, March 2, Chance transferred to a comprehensive in-patient multi-faceted therapy facility to begin his recovery. Unsurprisingly, he attacked that portion of his recovery with courage, strength and his inimitable sense of humor.  The therapies helped him (physically and cognitively) with strength and endurance.

On March 6, we received the news from the medical team that we had hoped and prayed for (along with all of you): Chance had a pathway to a full recovery.

To quote his doctor: “You, my friend, are a miracle.”

On March 10, Chance walked out of the rehab center and came home.

How can you support Chance?

1. Contact Chance to arrange a visit.

2. We have a small number of #ChanceStrong T-shirts still available in men’s and women’s sizes. Just $10 (plus shipping) for a limited time. Once you receive your shirt, be sure to send a photo of you and/or your group wearing the shirt(s) (email to: or post to social with a #ChanceStrong tag. Order here:

Finally, on behalf of Chance, a few heart-felt thank yous:  There are really too many people to mention, but let’s just start with the fact that the Westchester and El Segundo communities have great reputations for a reason. The prayers, thoughts, emails, texts, DMs, calls just keep coming. THANK YOU ALL! We have so much gratitude for the staff, teachers and his friends at Chance’s school. We could go on for days about our own family, friends and co-workers, who have been exceptionally supportive. And to the doctors, nurses and staff who cared for Chance  at the ER, ICU and hospital floor at UCLA Santa Monica and at California Rehabilitation Institute: “thanks”  is ridiculously and extraordinarily insufficient compared to what you did for Chance and for what you do everyday, for that matter. But it’s the best we got right now. 

Everyone did their part … and did it well. Special shout outs to Chance’s Aunt Penny (Pam’s sister and Chance’s  godmother) and his Uncle Coach (Tom’s brother), both of whom literally dropped everything to do anything we asked of them in the first uncertain week and the rehab week that followed. We couldn’t have done it without you all.

You'll find all of the chronological updates of Chance’s journey here:

Much love and appreciation to all of you on behalf of the Nelson Family (Chance, Annika, Pam and Tom).

Newest Update

Journal entry by Tom Nelson

"If you have your health, you have everything," the old saying goes.

And if we accept that saying as true, then it must be said that Chance has everything ... and more. A clean bill of health, plans to attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall and even a return to the baseball mound. (See photo.)

So this, we hope, will be the last post to this site.

We remain eternally grateful to everyone for all the big and little things you all did for Chance and for our family.

#ChanceStrong forever.
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