▶ Watch Video: High school athlete raises $13,000 to help best friend after football accident

Smyrna, Georgia — As sixth-graders, Jordan Sloan and Marcos San Miguel found a gem in the gym: their friendship. 

“He was the one guy I talked to about almost anything I had on my mind,” San Miguel told CBS News. 

The best friends were standout athletes. But 18 months ago, Sloan took a hit to the head playing football, which resulted in brain-stem trauma. His mother said he couldn’t move his arms or legs. 

“The rest of his brain is perfectly fine. His balance and coordination has been thrown completely off,” Sloan’s mother, Jasmine Jamieson, told CBS News. 

Willing himself to play sports again, the 16-year-old now attends rehab six days a week. 

“It was very hard to see my best friend like that,” San Miguel said. 

So he started a pledge drive for his friend’s family. Supporters donate every time he takes a charge on the basketball court.  

“I really wanted just to do whatever I could to help,” he said. “He would have done something similar for me.” 

San Miguel has raised more than $13,000 so far for his best friend. 

“I don’t know that I will ever be able to really thank him,” Jamieson said. “I will try for the rest of my life.”