Dodger Stadium attack victim Bryan Stow returned Wednesday to the Bay Area hospital where he made his miraculous comeback to thank the caregivers who helped save his life.
Stow walked into Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose on crutches. It’s one of the few times since he was assaulted by two men outside Dodger Stadium in March 2011 that Stow has appeared in public without a wheelchair. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch this season at San Francisco Giants Opening Day back in April and has spoken at a handful of schools.
There is still a long way to go, but Stow says he has improved considerably. The first crucial stage of rehabilitation took place at VMC. In an NBC Bay Area exclusive, Robert Handa was allowed to witness the private, emotional visit.
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The Valley Medical Center staffers who played such an important part in Stow’s recovery were thrilled to see his progress.
"It's great that Bryan is walking again, but more important to me is Bryan’s telling me stories, he’s joking with me,” said rehab relations manager Ann Perkins. “The personality that he had before his brain injury is really emerging."
Stow returned to VMC with his mother Ann and father Dave. It’s the place where he began his rehab program and spent almost five months. Wednesday’s return consisted of a series of individual, often tearful, reunions.
"I'm light years beyond where I started,” Stow said. “I mean, people can’t even believe I am walking again.”
Stow said his next goal is to walk without any assistance.
As for the two men that pleaded guilty to attacking Stow, they remain in prison.
Louie Sanchez has roughly three years remaining on his conviction for attacking Stow. He was recently sentenced to an additional six years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms.
The other man, Marvin Norwood, was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in Stow's attack. He must serve an additional two and a half years on gun charges as well.