Top stories of 2018: Jared Antle, Lafayette grad looks to recover from traumatic brain injury

Staff Writer

Around midnight on Aug. 24, a Lafayette High School graduate, Jared Antle, was critically injured in a hit-and-run in Harrisonburg, just two days after his mother dropped him off for his sophomore year of college at James Madison University.

First taken to Sentara RMH hospital in Harrisonburg, Antle was life-flighted to Charlottesville’s University of Virginia Medical Center with a traumatic brain injury and a collapsed lung among other injuries.

In the ensuing weeks, Antle endured “neuro-storms” and brain inflammation.

Every step of the way, Antle, 19, had his family by his side in his bid to recover from a traumatic brain injury.

Four weeks after he arrived at the University of Virginia Medical Center, he was cleared and admitted to a specialty hospital in Atlanta that deals strictly with brain and spinal cord injuries.

On board a Lear Jet air ambulance, the family flew from Charlottesville to Atlanta to the Shepherd Center, also known by its moniker “the Place of Miracles.”

“We were going to one of the best facilities in the country,” Jared’s mother Cathy Antle wrote in a journal entry at the time. “However, when we rolled in with Jared through the front doors i (sic) cried. I was extremely overwhelmed. One, that my son required a rehab facility and two, this was our new reality with an unknown outcome.”

On Dec. 14, Jared Antle’s primary doctor and the medical director of the brain injury unit, Andrew Dennison, told Jared’s parents he had emerged into consciousness and his recovery had reached a significant turning point.

Days after the announcement, Jared began to try to mouth words to his speech-language pathologist Alexes Venuti. He tried to vocalize for her — he has yet to say a word.

Jared began to take step after step with the help of a walker and a few physical therapists.

He has made great strides in his recovery, however, the whole process is fraught with unpredictability.

Both of Jared’s parents, Ed and Cathy Antle, credit their faith and the “thousands of prayers” the Williamsburg community has said for Jared’s survival and recovery. They continue to ask for prayers for a swift and full recovery for Jared.

“Things are OK because of people’s support,” Jared’s older brother Andy Antle said. “Without the support, it’d be more of a train wreck.”

At the end of the day, the Antles want Jared to have hope and faith as recovers.

“It’s obvious we’re a real faith-filled family, and he is, too,” Cathy Antle said. “I’m hoping along with his determination and drive and competitiveness, that he sees God on his side. That he’s not against (Jared). That he’s for (Jared).”

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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