BEZERRA STILL IN COMA, BUT DOCTORS ENCOURAGED FAIRFIELD, N.J. (February 24, 1998) — U.S. F2000 National Championship driver Thiago Bezerra, of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, remains in a coma at the Orlando Regional Medical Center after his January...

BEZERRA STILL IN COMA, BUT DOCTORS ENCOURAGED

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (February 24, 1998) — U.S. F2000 National Championship driver Thiago Bezerra, of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, remains in a coma at the Orlando Regional Medical Center after his January 24 accident at Walt Disney World Speedway, but shows signs of improvement.

Bezerra, who first began to open his eyes two weeks ago, has begun to look around his room and acknowledge visitors. He also has shown improvement by moving his left arm and squeezing a rehabilitation ball.

“When I went to take the ball from his hand, Thiago reaches out and takes it back from me, tthat’s a good sign,” said neurosurgeon Dr. RichaDouglas. “We’re encouraged with his progress over the last week and a half, but there is still a long way to go.”

Bezerra, 20, entered the hospital a four on the Glascov Scale of Comatose, which ranges from three (deep coma) to 15 (normal functionality), and has improved to a 10 or 11, according to Douglas.

“With a diffuse axonal brain injury, we generally look for the majority of improvement in the first six months,” said Douglas. “Thiago’s age is in his favor as far as the recovery statistics are concerned. While we generally see only 10 percent of these injuries lead to a substantial recovery, that includes people of all ages, and a 20-year-old in excellent shape, like Thiago, has a much better outlook than someone else.”

Bezerra has continuously had family by his side, assisting in his recovery process. Douglas reported that they will travel to Jackson Memorial in Miami later this week to investigate the prospect of moving him to assist in the recovery process.

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