For Lafayette High School graduate Jared Antle, 2019 is a year of unknowns.
The 19-year-old sustained a traumatic brain injury and a collapsed lung in August 2018 when a motorist in Harrisonburg hit him and drove off.
In the following weeks, Antle bounced around hospitals from Harrisonburg to Charlottesville and in late September 2018, Jared was taken by air ambulance to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
As he made strides in his recovery, Antle’s discharge date from the Shepherd Center was pushed back several times to Feb. 7.
On Dec. 14, Antle’s primary doctor at the center, Andrew Dennison, told his parents, Cathy and Ed Antle, their son had emerged into consciousness — a turning point in the 19-year-old’s recovery.
Antle’s near-daily progress has heartened the family, but with every day new goals, tests of will and trials occur.
Antle’s first discharge date was Nov. 16, Ed Antle said. That date was pushed back three times and now Feb. 7 is the newest deadline for improvement.
Discharge is contingent on his progress. If he keeps meeting goals, the discharge date could be pushed back further.
“The celebrations are way too short and the challenges come so fast,” Ed Antle said.
In the new year, Antle will continue to face the daunting task of recovering. His speech-language pathologist at the Shepherd Center, Alexes Venuti, said she hoped Antle would be able to care for himself, drive and even return to college.
The Shepherd Center’s end goal is to help Antle recover as fully as possible.
“The best-case scenario is that he's independent and able to do everything he was doing before,” Venuti said.
Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.