By Mitch Abramson
Pedro Sosa, the amateur boxer from the Bronx, who nearly fell to his death on the Cross Bronx Expressway on Oct. 30, has come out of his coma, is speaking and can recognize visitors, according to a family friend who went to see him last week. Sosa, who narrowly missed out on making the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team, losing in the finals of the trials at 141 pounds, was struck by a car after he exited his vehicle on the ice-slicked roadway after a multi-vehicle pileup.
Sosa was with his sister, Jennifer, when they were both knocked off the overpass, falling 75 feet onto a construction site below. Jennifer, 21, was killed, while Sosa, 19, sustained internal injuries to his kidneys and lunges, while avoiding any serious injuries to his head or legs. His condition has vastly improved since the accident. Sosa was taken out of the intensive care unit and moved into a regular hospital bed, according to the family friend, who wished to remain anonymous out of respect for Sosa’s privacy.
“He’s out of the coma and he’s starting to speak,” she said. “He can talk. Sometimes, he slurs his words, but if you’re really paying attention, you can understand what he’s saying.”
He’s also now able to recognize people who have entered his hospital room, showing his familiarity by smiling, she said.
“I walked in and said to him, ‘I know you don’t want to be drinking that milk,’” she said. “’I know you’d prefer to be eating rice and beans instead of that small carton of milk.’ And he smiled at that.”
Sosa will soon be taken out of the hospital and moved into a rehabilitation facility, she said. He’s able to move his extremities- she says he’s also able to communicate by moving his fingers to indicate the affirmative or negative.
“He wants to get up,” she said.
But doctors are limiting the amount of visitors he has because they don’t want him to exert too much energy, she said. There’s also the issue of his sister, who died in the fall.
“He still doesn’t know that his sister has passed away,” the family friend said. “She was still alive when they took her to the hospital, and he was in a coma until a few days ago. At this point, he’s not physically or mentally ready for them to give him the news yet.”
She also cautioned on reading too much into his recovery as it relates to his boxing career. He’s still in the early stages of his recovery, still eating his meals through a feeding tube, though the family friend said doctors were close to removing the tubes.
“If he does go back to boxing, it will take a while,” she said. “It’s a miracle that he’s doing this well. He has to learn to walk and talk again.”
Sosa was on the verge of signing with the professional boxing manager Shelly Finkel before the accident. He was also being courted by the promoters, Lou DiBella and Golden Boy Promotions.