After Devastating Brain Injury, New Jersey Man Moves Closer to Independence

Studying Brain

(Courier Post) – Andrew “Andy” Rooney doesn’t remember anything about the head-on collision that nearly killed him 35 years ago.

His older brother, Tom, vividly recalls finding the outgoing 25-year-old comatose in a hospital bed with severe injuries to his jaw, eye socket and brain. It was months before he could speak.

“Initially, we hoped he’d make a full recovery,” said Tom Rooney of Oaklyn. It was not to be. The young postal worker — a “dynamo” who had also operated a small auto repair business with a friend — spent the next few decades in his parents’ care while undergoing outpatient therapy.

Slowly, he worked to retrain his brain to handle basic tasks of daily living: how to dress himself, eat and help around the house. But in 2016, after their widowed mother died at age 92, Rooney’s inching recovery took several necessary steps forward. CONTINUE