Campus, News

Allston fire victim enters rehab center after waking from coma

A Boston University student who was in critical condition after jumping out of a burning house in Allston has begun rehabilitation for his traumatic brain injury, family members said.

Josh Goldenberg, a College of Communication sophomore, was transferred from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston on Feb. 6, his father David Goldenberg said.

Josh is undergoing speech, physical and occupational therapy to recover from the brain injury. He has trouble speaking and can’t walk or support himself, but has shown signs of improvement overall, his father said.

“Josh was a walkie-talkie, college sophomore, hockey player, fraternity brother,” David said. “We’re hopeful he’ll make a full recovery, but it’s scary in the beginning.”

Josh is expected to undergo treatment for six to eight weeks. Although Josh is missing the spring semester, he will likely return to BU in the fall.

“We’ll see what’s going to happen over the summer, but our expectation is that he’s going to return for the fall semester,” David said.

Josh suffered injuries from jumping out of the third-story window of his burning apartment at 84 Linden St. on Jan. 22. The building caught fire early that morning, and the jump left him in a coma for about 10 days.

David said while he was elated to see Josh wake up, the recovery process is slower than what people tend to expect.

“When people hear that, they think it’s like television or the movies where someone sits up and goes ‘Hey, where have I been for two weeks?’” David said. “They open their eyes and they start to look and see, but the actual process of coming out of a coma, they come out of it gradually.”

While it is too early to tell if Josh will fully recover, David said his son will likely regain functionality.

“He has his youth and health on his side,” he said. “He’s only 19 years old, he’s a healthy individual [and] he’s emotionally stable. We’re hoping that he’s making a full recovery, but of course as parents we’re afraid that he might not.”

Josh’s friends and fraternity brothers have supported him since he was hospitalized, David said.

Dean of Student Kenneth Elmore contacted David and his wife Cathy to check on Josh as well. Many of their friends have also shown support and prayed for his recovery.

“We really appreciated the outpouring of support from his friends and from the BU community, who really stepped up to the plate with us and supported us through this . . . and to keep supporting us,” he said. “He’s not out of the woods yet . . . [We ask that people] keep him in their prayers.”

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