By Alexis Schulz
A Rider student is steadily recovering after a car crash on Nov. 6 that left him with severe brain injuries.
John Francisco of Toms River, sophomore business major, is now working with occupational and physical therapists at the Johnson Rehabilitation Institute at the JFK Medical Center in Edison and is relearning how to perform daily tasks, according to a news release from the medical center. Francisco’s doctor, Brian Greenwald, said that brain injuries like Francisco’s require special attention.
“The problems that people face after traumatic brain injury, whether it be mild like we see in concussion or very severe like we see in Johnny’s case, the needs of those people are very unique to get them the best care. And there’s no doubt getting the best care will get them the best outcome,” he said.
According to Plainsboro police, the vehicle Francisco was driving with passengers Nicolette Dulin, a freshman elementary education major, and Andrew Larosa-Engst, a sophomore undeclared major, was traveling on Rt. 1 when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. Francisco was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Dulin and Larosa-Engst were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and were quickly released.
Francisco, two months after the accident, has been working with rehabilitation specialists and has plans to return to Rider after his recovery, according to Dr. Anthony Campbell, dean of students. He said Francisco’s family is very supportive of his goals.
“His mother never left his side from the time he was first in the hospital,” Campbell said. “She slept there with him every night. I think there’s a lot to say for that.”
Emilia Francisco said in the news release video that in the beginning of his rehabilitation process Francisco could not speak or eat. He is working daily on being able to regain some of those abilities and is excelling.
“John was not able to speak at all. John was not able to eat at all. They got him to eat here [at JFK]. They got him to speak here [at JFK], they got him to walk. John was not able to do anything,” she said.
Rider students showed an outpouring of support on Francisco’s Facebook page after the accident. His friends are hoping for his full recovery and that he will be able to walk at his graduation.
“He was a great kid, really nice,” said Troy Flood, sophomore business major.