Victim of Cadott explosion responsive after 2 months in coma - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Victim of Cadott explosion responsive after 2 months in coma

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Cadott (WQOW) - It's been almost two months since a Cadott man was injured in an explosion that left him in a coma.

Jonathan Rygiel, 24, from Cadott suffered life-threatening injuries in early March from an explosion at Greener Acres Transmission in Cadott. News 18 spoke with Jonathan's mom on Monday, and she said he was moved to a new hospital in mid-April in Waterford, Wisconsin to see a neurospecialist. 

Just last Friday, Rygiel's mom said he was responsive to hand squeezing and toe wiggling commands. She said he is also breathing on his own with the help of a ventilator at given times throughout the day.

Friends are still raising money for Rygiel to help his family with medical bills. 

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Cadott (WQOW)
- It's been almost three weeks since a tragic accident on the job left an area man fighting for his life.

Twenty-four-year-old Jonathan Rygiel of Cadott was working at a family business when his job quickly took a tragic turn. Jean Rygiel, Jonathan's grandmother, said his injury has been an emotional and very traumatic experience for the family. “We are pulling together and acting as a team, and again, our prayers are going out for Jonathan's recovery,” she said. "Currently, he is stable but in a coma."

Jonathan was trying to cut open a 55 gallon metal drum with a blow torch when the drum exploded. Jean said, "It was severe, and so he was airlifted to Marshfield Hospital where he is currently stable but in a coma at this time."

Ashley Emerick, who graduated with Jonathan from the Cadott High School in 2010, said she was working at a nearby gas station the day of the explosion and saw the Mayo One helicopter land in the parking lot. “I'd seen his family, and then I put two to two together, that was him because I'd seen his older brother. And, some other people who had also seen said it was him. So, they said his name."

The Rygiel's said Jonathan suffered life-threatening injuries from the explosion and a portion of his skull had to be removed to relieve pressure and swelling.  "We are talking with him on a daily basis. We are staying in touch with the medical team, and are just there for his total support," Jean added.

She said both the Cadott and online communities have shown an outpouring of support for Jonathan. "From the whole United States, there are prayer chains that have him in their best wishes. He is probably one of the most prayed for 24-year-olds today.”

While the road to recovery is still a long way to go, the Rygiel's are bracing for the best. “Our continuous hope that he will survive, this is what as a family we are holding on to,” Jean said.

The Rygiel's said they are thankful for all of the support. Emerick said Saturday, April 4 is their class reunion, and they plan to send Jonathan some flowers since he won't be able to make it. To find out how you can help Jonathan through his recovery, click here.

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