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Cape Town - More than a week after he was beaten into a coma, Jean Lambrechts is finally recovering. On Monday, he waved to friends, nodded and looked around his hospital room.
“I’m so happy,” said his mother Henrieta Sauer on Monday. “This is all I wanted, to know that he was still there.”
The 19-year-old, using his hands, was actively responding to questions over the weekend and on Monday.
“He gives us a thumbs up for ‘yes’ and shakes his hand for ‘no’. He even waves to his friends when they drop by,” she said.
It has been a slow process of recovery for the second-year Prestige Academy student after he was attacked in Bellville last weekend.
Lambrechts and four friends were apparently jumped by a gang of eight “well-dressed” men while on their way to the nightclub Stones on Edward Street last weekend Saturday at around 1.30am.
Juan Strydom, Lambrechts’ close-friend who was with him at the time, said the gang was looking for a fight.
“They stomped on his head twice, I could see him lying on the ground and they just kept kicking him,” said Strydom.
After the gang fled, Lambrechts was taken to hospital where he had emergency surgery to remove blood clots from his brain. He later underwent a second surgery to remove a part of his skull.
Since then he has been in a coma in the ICU ward of Tygerberg hospital.
His mother said he first started showing signs of recovery on Wednesday evening when he unexpectedly lifted his hand.
In the following days, she said he had become steadily more lucid.
“The other day his phone was locked and I couldn’t remember the pin,” she said. “So I asked him and amazingly he counted it out with his fingers for me.”
While Lambrechts is still limited to small movements, such as wriggling his toes to music or lifting his arm to flash a “thumbs up”, he has also managed to half-open his eyes.
Sauer said his eyes would follow people around the ward.
“He sometimes tries to speak but he can’t form words properly,” she said. “But the other day he mouthed that he wanted water and we understood him.”
Tanya, Lambrechts’ sister, said he mouthed words to songs she played.
The 19-year-old is breathing by himself and even drinking water after a week of being fed by a drip.
“All I care about now is that he keeps getting better,” she said. “This is just a speed-bump, he will be back on his path soon. God has great plans for him.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said there had been no new developments at the time of going to print.