Netanel Felber, an IDF soldier who grew up in Silver Spring, is “minimally conscious” following a terrorist attack in December.
His mother, Judi, said in a telephone interview that Netanel, 21, has become more reactive to stimuli, although it is unclear if he is aware of it.
“He responds sometimes and he reacts sometimes. He reacts to stimuli. He reacts to us. He reacts to his friends but he’s not going to have a conversation with you,” Judi Felber said.
The family asks him to blink if he’s enjoying himself or in pain, and sometimes he responds, she said.
“We don’t know if he’s listening or if it’s a reflex.”
He has also been able to track objects with both his eyes, she said, adding that he spends most of his time sleeping.
In December, Netanel was shot in the head several times at a bus stop by a Palestinian gunman. Two other soldiers were killed in the attack.
He was moved from Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in February and spends a few hours a day at a rehabilitation center. There, Netanel’s body is moved and manipulated to make sure his joints remain flexible. He is also strapped to a board which is slowly tipped to get him used to being in a standing position. The exercises leave him exhausted, Judi Felber said.
At home he receives round-the-clock care.
At the same time, the family is preparing for the wedding of Netanel’s sister.
She said it is unknown if Netanel will recover fully. “We don’t have a prognosis because we know so little about what the brain can and can’t do. And somebody with a [brain injury] can be anywhere 10 years from now.”
Updates on Netanel Felber’s condition can be read at: nathanielsoldier.wixsite.com/nathanielsoldier/home/