TAMPA — Avi Davidson is paralyzed from the waist down. His left arm was amputated, and he needs help with formerly simple tasks, from showering to opening the wrappers of the Toblerone candies he loves.
But Avi still hopes to join the Israeli military.
"I obviously won't have a field position," he said at his family's Northdale home. "But I can work a desk position."
Much has changed since Avi suffered a catastrophic electrical shock climbing a power pole to take photos of a sunset on Oct. 1. At first, his family didn't know if he'd survive. But after 89 days in the hospital, he returned home Monday. The family cats immediately ran toward him and checked out his wheelchair.
On Thursday, he said that despite his disabilities, many of his goals are the same.
He hopes to return to Gaither High School, he still wants to become an Eagle Scout and he thinks he'll go on a trip to Israel with his mom, a trip they had been planning.
His sister Michelle Bern, 19, said she'll encourage him.
"He's so independent, so strong-willed," she said. "I have 100 percent faith he will achieve those goals."
At 16, an age when many teens start looking forward to moving out of their parents' house, Avi said he's happy to stay home for the foreseeable future.
"The fact that they support me so much means a lot," he said.
His family is building a 550-square-foot room for him at the front of the house. It'll have a wheelchair-accessible shower, furniture at his level and couches for visiting friends.
The additional room, his new, waterproof wheelchair and other items were made possible through donations from friends and the community, said Avi's mom, Lea Merrill Davidson-Bern.
"It's been unbelievable," she said.
Though still in pain, Avi has his usual sense of humor, his family said. At the end of a press conference, he told his sister Rachel, 18, that he wanted to play Cat-opoly.
"I have a college application to work on," she said.
"You want to get run over?" he joked, moving his wheelchair toward her.
Avi, who is left-handed, said one of the toughest parts of recovering is learning to write with his right hand. But it's not the first time he's faced that challenge.
Avi — the "rebel" in the family, according to his sister Michelle — has broken his left arm twice, "once doing a backflip off a wall when I was little," he said.
"I thought I was Spider-Man," he said, smiling.
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2443.