CBSN

His Own Independence Day

17-year-old Patrick Ireland's wheelchair is gone now and has been replaced by a crutch and plastic brace - and relief that he's heading home from the hospital, reports Correspondent Terry Jessup of CBS Station KCNC-TV in Denver.

"It's really exciting that I've made it this far, and going home, you know, it's just the next step," Ireland said.

A step that literally might never have come given the brain trauma and other injuries he suffered. Ireland was shot in the head twice as he was helping wounded friends in the Columbine High School library.

He's known as the "boy in the window" to people across the country because of his daring escape from the Columbine shootings that left 14 classmates and a teacher dead.

"He's made a lot of progress, and we are very, very happy to be taking him home now," said Ireland's mother, Kathy.

Ireland's desperate escape through the school library window was broadcast all over the country.

"We saw the video, and we were very, very surprised that it was him, given the injuries that he had," said Ireland's father, John.

Ireland's injuries will require months of daily physical and emotional therapy for a 17-year-old who is already looking back on the summer that he lost.

"I was gonna work a lot, and try to get enough money to buy a new car, and water-ski," the high school student said. "That was gonna be a big part of my summer."

Ireland says he intends to be back in class this fall, and water skiing by next summer. He said he looks forward to returning to Columbine in mid-August - with no fears.