Former firefighter heads home after monthslong recovery from coma

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A former city firefighter from Suffolk who had been in a coma headed back home Friday after months of rehab. 

Jack Carter, a retired 69–year-old city firefighter, was badly beaten in August 2019, putting him in a coma. 

Right after the incident, Carter was hospitalized for two months. He then came to the Quantum Rehab and Nursing Center in Middle Island for three months for intense rehabilitation for his brain injuries.

Kathy Carter, Carter’s wife, says it was a day that was long-awaited.

“Every single step we went through, whether it was the breathing tube coming off — I remember just waiting for that,” says Kathy Carter. “Then waiting for this and waiting for whatever was next…it's just keeping your eye on the prize.”

Lisa Foundas, of the Quantum Rehab Center, says it was inspiring to see Carter work toward recovery.

“You never know what to expect with a brain injury,” says Foundas. “We got to see his personality come out little by little and how his perseverance and his heroic mannerisms just pushed him through his rehab.”

John Ruggiero, a security guard from Port Jefferson Station, has been charged with assault. The case is still pending, and he's due in court Feb. 21.

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