August 30, 2014

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Keystone teen critically injured in February crash now able to communicate

Kyle Delligatti

Kyle Delligatti

Last month, Shane Delligatti used a dry-erase board to ask his son a question. For the first time in the three months that the family had tried to communicate with him, 17-year-old Kyle Delligatti read the question and responded.

“It was very emotional. It brought a tear to my eye,” Shane Delligatti said, remembering the moment he knew his son was getting better. “We knew how amazing that was that he can still read … it was a huge moment.”

It was a big step for Kyle, a Keystone High School student, who was unconscious and in critical condition in February after a car crash.

Kyle Delligatti was driving northbound on state Route 301 on Feb. 5 when he lost control of his car. An oncoming truck struck the passenger side of Delligatti’s car. The teenager was taken from the scene in critical condition.

He was treated at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland before he was transported to a rehab facility at the end of February. He was still unconscious, but his family held out hope.

Now, months after the crash, Delligatti is awake and tweeting about his friends and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“He goes on Twitter and Facebook and can type messages,” Shane Delligatti said, adding that his son still can’t talk or walk, but he is able to read and respond to his friends and family through movements and typing on an iPad.

A specialist at the rehab facility is working with Kyle on physical and occupational therapy every day and Shane Delligatti said the hard work is paying off.

“Every single day has been an improvement,” Shane Delligatti said. While Kyle has some memory loss — he cannot remember the car accident — Shane Delligatti said his son remembers his friends and family.

“He laughs a lot. … We think his personality is really coming back to where it used to be,” Shane Delligatti said.

The family doesn’t know what’s next for the teenager but they said they are taking it one step at a time. They plan to see how much Kyle has improved by mid-August before they decide how to move forward.

Though he still has to regain his ability to walk and speak, Shane Delligatti said being able to communicate with Kyle again has been a big source of comfort.

“It gives us a lot of hope. … It makes us feel good that we know what Kyle is thinking now,” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.