Injured Syrian refugee regains consciousness

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- A Syrian refugee who was struck by a car in February has regained consciousness after spending nearly two months in a coma, a development some did not believe would ever happen.

"It was definitely a pretty bleak prognosis for him right after the accident," said Kari Miller, founder of International Neighbors, a nonprofit that provides assistance to refugees in Charlottesville.

Feras Alsaleh was struck at the intersection of Hydraulic Road and Route 29 North on Feb. 7 as he walked to catch an early morning bus to work at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Miller said doctors were not optimistic about his prognosis, and his awakening on March 31 came as a surprise.

"He started to speak in single word phrases, and then he was speaking in sentences," said Miller. She said Alsaleh recognizes his family and friends and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at UVA's HealthSouth.

A Gofundme has already raised nearly $30,000, enough for the family to cover rent and other expenses for a year. Miller said she hopes to raise more so that Alsaleh's wife can focus her attention on her husband's recovery and on caring for their young children, one of whom has not yet started school.

"I think that the more that the family can be with him, he is able to heal emotionally and physically, just having that support there," said Miller.

Albemarle County is holding a public meeting April 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Jack Jouett Middle School to discuss issues at the intersection where Alsaleh was struck.

For information on the fundraiser for Alsaleh, see the Related Links box.

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