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Janesville teen home after car surfing injury

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ANN MARIE AMES
August 5, 2008
— In an instant, Nathan Rosenow lost almost a year of his life.

It could have been much worse.


That night in the emergency room, his mom, Kim Cabrera, only had time to tell him she loved him and to fight if he was able.


"I wanted to give him permission to go either way," Cabrera said.


He came home Friday, a move his mom calls a miracle.


Rosenow, 17, was critically injured May 2 while car surfing in the parking lot of the Rock County Job Center. He spent three weeks in a coma, Cabrera said.


Doctors told his family Rosenow had suffered severe brain trauma. Initially, the bigger concern was Rosenow's lungs, Cabrera said. He had inhaled vomit while unconscious, and doctors weren't sure how much oxygen he was taking in, Cabrera said.


Rosenow has been at Mercy Hospital and a nearby rehabilitation center since the incident. He continues to have therapy to help his short-term memory and his gross motor skills, Cabrera said.


"One thing that's for sure is he's forever changed," Cabrera said. "There will be some kind of residual effects forever."


Cabrera said the Nathan Rosenow Benefit Fund has been set up at Blackhawk Community Credit Union, 2704 E. Milwaukee St., Janesville. The family plans to hold a "celebration of life" and fund-raiser, Cabrera said, but plans are not finalized.


Rosenow has no memory of the accident. In fact, he has no memory of about eight months before he was hurt, she said.


"Right before it, he was getting into hard rock," Cabrera said. "But he doesn't remember those months, and now he can't stand it. He's putting country back on his MP3 player."


It's been frustrating for Rosenow, who knows something is wrong but can't always remember what it is, Cabrera said.


"To a point, he understands," she said. "Like when he comes to you for the 10th time in the day and says, 'Where did I leave my phone?' He is frustrated, no doubt."


Rosenow uses a detailed wall chart to prompt him through his day, Cabrera said. The chart lists everything from getting up and having breakfast to plugging in his cell phone and putting away his wallet at bedtime.


Jason T. Klein, 17, of 1237 S. Arch St., Janesville, was charged with causing injury by reckless driving after the incident. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, Aug. 28, according to online records.


Rosenow will go back to Parker High School with a modified schedule as a senior, Cabrera said. He already had earned 19.5 of the 22 credits he needed to graduate, so that will help, Cabrera said.


Mercy is holding Rosenow's former job in the laundry for him. And the family still is talking about college.


After that first night at the hospital, Cabrera is amazed a life for Rosenow is an option, let alone college.


"I can't believe he made it," she said. "Having been a nurse and seeing your son in that condition, with blood coming out of his ears "


Cabrera wants it to sink in for teens that they are not invincible.


"Be so careful," she said. "It's such a simple thing that could have killed him."



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