NEW HAVEN - Nine years after surviving a horrific accident that killed four fellow college athletes, a former football player gradated from Yale University yesterday.

Brett Smith suffered brain damage in the accident on I-95 in Fairfield in January 2003.

Smith was among nine students in an SUV that slammed into a jackknifed truck on the icy highway.

He was a freshman at the time and his brain injury put him into a coma.

Doctors told him he would never be able to return to school.

Smith was among the more than 1,200 graduates at Yale's graduation.