Guampdn News Article By Masako Watanabe, firstname.lastname@example.org
It may take "years" for a college student from Guam to recover from a Washington, D.C. hit-and-run, his father said.
Ethan Zimmerman, 22, an undergraduate studying education and sign language at Gallaudet University, remains hospitalized since the late November crash, Rob Zimmerman said.
He was struck by a dump truck as he entered a crosswalk on his way back to his college dormitory, Rob Zimmerman said. Ethan Zimmerman suffered numerous fractures and was left unconscious, he said. He has since regained consciousness and is now able to make limited speech, according to an online crowdfunding page set up by family.
A GoFundMe page update posted early Wednesday, Guam time, states that he is speaking "in a limited whisper."
"Ethan just got his breathing tube out this morning," the post states.
"He is off the ventilator now and breathing on his own! We can only speak in a limited whisper but is using his sign language skills."
The family set up the donation page for medical and recovery costs.
"(W)e don't have a clue yet as to what the costs will look like. It's going to be expensive," Rob Zimmerman said.
The accident occurred on Nov. 21, around 1:21 a.m., about a quarter mile from the university, according to Officer Sean Hickman of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The investigation is ongoing, he said.
Ethan Zimmerman's father says Ethan pushed friends out of harm's way as a dump truck making a turn barreled toward them.
“(He) was able to save his friends from serious injury by pushing them out of the way, but (he) himself was hit and run over by the construction vehicle,” Rob Zimmerman said.
Raised in Guam
Ethan Zimmerman is the son of Rob and Allison Zimmerman, who founded Oasis Empowerment Center, a nonprofit providing drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counseling and mental health assistance.
Ethan Zimmerman, is shown at a film premiere in Guam in a 2013 file photo. From left, Zimmerman, Rosie Zimmerman, De'Andrew Brown (dressed as Hunger Games Capitol citizens) and Angelica Rohr (dressed as Effie Trinket). (Photo: PDN file)
He was born in Kiribati, where his parents were establishing a school, Rob Zimmerman said. The family moved to Guam in 1995, when Ethan Zimmerman was one.
Ethan Zimmerman attended several schools, including Southern Christian Academy, and graduated from St. Paul Christian School, Rob Zimmerman said. He studied sign language at Guam Community Collegebefore transferring to Gallaudet last year.
Ethan Zimmerman chose to learn sign language under the influence of his 27-year-old sister, a doctoral candidate at Gallaudet, Rob Zimmerman said.
“He needed to take a language at GCC and because his sister Heather was very involved in the field of (American Sign Language), he had already learned quite a few words,” Rob Zimmerman said.
The siblings found sign language to have beneficial effects in coping with their learning disability, Audio Linguistic Dyslexia.
“Heather found that by using ASL, a whole new pathway for learning was able to be accessed that actually served as a powerful accommodation for her disability. Ethan has a similar disability in addition to a speech impediment. ASL helps him communicate better.”
Road to recovery uncertain
Both parents have flown to D.C., and are looking at options for a long-term stay to care for Ethan Zimmerman, Rob Zimmerman said.
"Ethan (is) in this process of recovery but they are saying it's going to take years," he said in a text message to the Pacific Daily News.
“Thank you all for standing with us for this miracle.”
Rob Zimmerman, father of Ethan Zimmerman
Ethan Zimmerman is off the ventilator and now breathing on his own, the latest post made early Wednesday, on the fundraising page, states.
"Ethan is still in the ICU, but of course we are encouraged with his progress and praise God he is alive," Rob Zimmerman said. Doctors will assess damage to his brain with an MRI, he said.
Ethan Zimmerman is showing signs of improvement, and is "hungry and asking for food," the online post states.
"Thank you all for standing with us for this miracle."