More than six months after he arrived in Atlanta, Jared Antle’s insurance company may soon require him to go home, likely for good.
During a Monday afternoon phone call, Jared’s father Ed Antle said wearily that while nothing has been certain, he’s convinced Jared will come home to Williamsburg on April 23.
“I still think that we're going home on the 23rd,” Ed said. “(Jared’s mother) is doubtful of that.”
The homecoming could happen despite the fact that Jared has suffered a rare allergic reaction to the primary drug used to stimulate his brain function and help him recover. He’d been on the medicine for months, but his doctors recently noted that the blood vessels in his legs were constricting unnaturally, Ed said.
Since he was taken off the medicine, his behavior has changed.
“We couldn't take care of him like this at home, so we're in the behavior battle again,” Ed said. “Even though each day has been getting a little bit better.”
The 19-year-old Lafayette High School graduate 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.
In the intervening months, Jared has traveled to hospitals from Charlottesville to Richmond and finally to Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, a specialty hospital for injuries of the spine and brain.
At the Shepherd Center, Jared emerged into consciousness and began a regimen of speech and physical therapy.
Four months after he came out of a vegetative state, Jared is able to walk around, bend over and pick things up and speak, but those activities all still feel stilted, Ed said.
“His interaction and conversation are better,” Ed said. “He'll carry on a conversation with you for a few minutes.”
Jared knows when to speak and when to listen. He’ll try to get people to understand what he’s saying, but there’s an underlying lack of smoothness to the conversations Ed said.
The family has made some preparations by remodeling their bathroom to meet Jared’s needs for his eventual return to their James City County home, Ed said. But more work still needs to be done.
Local fundraisers have helped give the family nearly $67,000, according to the GoFundMe for Jared.
At a recent fundraiser at the Virginia Beer Company, Jared’s siblings, former teammates and friends raised nearly $9,100, according to organizer Carter Sonders.
“Every time I took a second to look around, I was stunned by how many people came out, especially on such a dreary evening,” Jared’s older brother Andy Antle said. “We’re so thankful.”
How to help
To donate money toward Jared Antle’s recovery, visit bit.ly/helpjared.
Read the Antle family’s online journal entries at bit.ly/AntleJournal.
Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.