It's a difficult time, though, for the Akers family.
"When he got here [to Atlanta] he wasn't even able to swallow pills," Linda said. "Now he can. His left arm is working. He's a lefty, so he's able to feed himself. His left leg has movement. His right side is giving him more problems, but he's getting better every day. They're working on his core strength."
If anything, Akers has strength at his core.
"He might be the greatest Mountaineer ever," said WVU coach Bob Huggins, speaking in a broad sense. "He was a decorated player out of Mullens. He was decorated at WVU. He's one of the state's two or three best coaches ever. And he's been a great supporter of [WVU's] program."
Huggins and close friend Warren Baker are planning to visit Akers this week during the Final Four.
"Huggins sent enough workout gear to last a long time," Linda said. "The people here know Willie is a WVU fan for sure."
Akers spent three weeks at CAMC before flying to Atlanta on March 6. At Shepherd, he's undergoing hours of therapy a day. On April 25, he and his wife will be moved to a connected apartment building, where he'll be considered an outpatient and continue therapy until the end of May or early June.
Akers will then return home to Logan before returning for more therapy all summer.
"The doctors said he's ahead of schedule," Linda said. "He's doing better than they thought. If it continues, he might be able to walk with a cane and brace on his leg. He'll come home in a wheelchair, but we're hopeful."
Akers has a very tough challenge. He's fighting quadriplegia. And his age - he's 75 - is working against him.
Yet he has that core strength. He has that core strength state fans have seen for years. He also has support seemingly from every hill and valley in this state.
"People have been so wonderful with their cards and letters," Linda said. "The hospital workers come every day with an armload of mail and ask if it's his birthday."
That day won't come until July.
But when it does, let's hope the West Virginia legend can again stand tall and blow out every one of those 76 candles.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.