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Local College Student Recovers After Debilitating Brain Injury

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Saturday was discharge day for 19-year-old Javier Ojeda.

But before his new cane helps him walk out the doors of UPMC Montefiore, he undergoes one last therapy session.

There are bean bags and balls – and the most adorable therapy dog, a beagle in an Easter bonnet.

But just days ago, Javier didn't know what any of those things were. The Kent State conservation biology major from Imperial suffered from a vascular malformation on the brain. He lost his memory and his ability to speak and read.

"I didn't know what anything was, I didn't know what a pen was, I didn't know what highlighter was, I didn't know, they would pull out these things, they would pull out a watch and they'd say 'What is this?' And I'd say I don't know," Javier said.

He was transferred from the Cleveland Clinic to UPMC where he had surgery on March 15. His positive attitude is contagious.

But the risks brought some fear.

"I could be in a coma for the rest of my life, I could die, I could be in a state where I could know what's going on, but I couldn't move," said Javier.

"I try not to have those negative thoughts, but they were in there and it's really nice to see him walking out of here," said Javier's father, Ramon.

Javier plans to walk back onto campus in the fall to resume his rigorous coursework – a goal he's able to accomplish with some steadfast affirmations.

"Stay confident, trust your family and trust God," said Javier.

And with the help of doctors and therapists who gave him back those gifts he vows to never take for granted.

"They're amazing. They helped me so much, I owe them my life," said Javier.

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