(Bay City News) Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who suffered brain damage when he was beaten after a baseball game in Los Angeles, is making progress in his recovery and is speaking, his family said Wednesday.
In a hard-to-hear gravelly voice, Stow was been able to say the names of his children, Tabitha and Tyler, and when shown pictures of them he said, "I would like to see them soon," Stow's family said on a website they created to chronicle his progress.
In August, Stow, a 42-year-old Santa Cruz man who was attacked outside Dodger Stadium after the March 31 season opener between the Giants and the Dodgers, encountered setbacks in his recovery as he battled infections related to surgery to replace a missing part of his skull with a bone flap.
Swelling in Stow's brain had prompted Los Angeles doctors to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain. Doctors at San Francisco General Hospital said the procedure saved Stow's life, but that replacing the missing skull fragment has proved challenging.
Doctors have had to attempt that surgery several times in recent months because of complications. Doctors performed the most recent surgery to insert the bone flap on Aug. 10.
His temperature shot up as his body fought off a urinary tract and staph infections, according to his family, and he became less responsive. Before then, he had been showing signs of improvement, mouthing words and giving kisses to family members.
The infections had prevented doctors from performing additional necessary procedures, according to his family.
By the beginning of this month, Stow's condition had improved enough that on Sept. 13 doctors inserted a shunt to permanently divert fluid from his brain. In the week since the surgery, Stow has made facial expressions, and began talking on Wednesday, his family said.
"We are blown away with all of this," the family said in a statement on the site. "Literally one day we got some facial responses and the next, he's talking."
The doctors have been monitoring Stow closely after they also recently removed a filter that had been inserted to catch blood clots that could enter his lungs.
A full-body scan in the past week revealed clots in one of Stow's thighs, his abdomen and his shoulder. According to his family, doctors are considering blood thinners and whether to insert a permanent filter.
"Bryan's had many ups and downs, and though we see how far he has come, we try not to look too far back into these past 6 months, and we can't look too far down the road so we focus on right now," Stow's family wrote.
Before the attack, Stow worked as a paramedic in Santa Clara County. He was attacked as he left Dodger Stadium on March 31 by two suspects who first taunted him but then hit him from behind, causing him to fall.
Two men have been charged with Stow's beating--Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marivin Norwood, 30 -- and pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court last month to mayhem and assault charges. Sanchez and Norwood are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 30 at 8:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.