Newell student takes first steps since cycle crash

Friday, December 28, 2001

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, 20-year-old Jared Witt stunned his doctors.

Still technically in a semi-alert stage of a coma after a car pulled out in front of his motorcycle while he was on his way to class at Iowa State University November 20, Jared picked up a pencil and wrote a message:

"I would like to stand."

Not only did he stand, he walked, using a support bar. On Wednesday, 10 feet. On Thursday, 20. But to his family back home, he's come a mile.

"The doctors were very surprised. They did a brain test and were amazed at how well he is doing. He has a long way to go, but he is really making progress," said Jane and Mike Sievers of Albert City, Jared's grandparents. His parents, Tom and Debbie Witt of Newell, continue to closely monitor their son's health.

On December 20, Jared was transferred from Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames to "On With Life" in Ankeny, which is a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center.

On that fateful November day, the view of both Jared and the driver of the car he collided with was blocked by construction equipment.

The car pulled out, and Jared's motorcycle stuck the side of the vehicle hard. He was not wearing a helmet, and the side of his head bounced off the car body.

Jared who is a sophomore at Iowa State. He receives physical, occupational, speech and cognitive therapies twice a day. While not yet fully emerged from his coma, Jared had recently been able to sit up in a wheelchair, to follow simple commands, and once a medical tube was removed from his throat, was able to say his first word since the accident, "Hi."

He can communicate with his hands, nodding his head and writing. Well-wishes will reach Jared at his new address: On With Life, 715 SW Ankeny Road, Ankeny, IA 50021.

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