2017 Deer Valley plane crash victim shows progress in recovery, almost 2 years after fateful day

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- In August 2017, a small plane crashed in the area of 19th Avenue and Deer Valley Road. The plane was piloted by Brody Burnell and his friend, Chandler. The two were heading to Sedona for lunch when the plane went through a fence, and crashed into a tree.

"I don't like looking at the pictures. The crash pictures," said Brody's father, Steve Burnell.

Both Brody and Chandler survived, but Brody was left with a Traumatic Brain Injury following the crash that required 14 surgeries. A coma kept the Burnell family in a three-month silent vigil, and after spending some time out of state for treatment, Brody returned to Phoenix in May 2018.

"He looks better every time I see him," said Brody's friend Ross, when Brody returned to Phoenix. "I see him every day on Facetime, but in person it's definitely a different level of connection. He looks so good right now."

"One of the toughest things is the visual part for me, was to see my son in the physical condition he was in. To see my son not be able to talk," said Steve.

On Tuesday, Brody, now 20, reached another milestone in his recovery. Brody said he feels "like a boss" on Tuesday, and he had plenty of reasons to feel like that on Tuesday, as he showed off his progress in his recovery from the crash.

For Brody, others say they can't stop him from talking.

"I cannot stop. Seriously. I had a job at Dutch Bros. Best job ever," said Brody.

"It's a combination of hard work, lots of therapies, some surgery on his knees that has made a huge difference," said Dr. Christina Kwasnica, Medical Director at Barrow Neurological Institute.

"Miracles do happen, prayers are answered, and I'm not going to get upset about little things anymore," said Steve.

"God saved my life. I saw him in my coma. He said it's not your time. I woke up," said Brody.