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Garcia returns to Notre Dame following fall

Adam Llorens | Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 

Senior Marcus Garcia, who fell from his third-floor apartment window in the early morning hours of August 25, 2011, returned to campus over the weekend and began classes with the rest of the student body on Tuesday.

Garcia said he is ready to challenge himself academically after a four-month hiatus at his home in Turlock, Calif.

“It has been weird to come back after so long,” he said. “It is a little nerve-wracking.”

Garcia said it was difficult to be away from campus during his senior year.

“The hardest thing for me was, as a senior, missing the last football season,” Garcia said. “I missed out on a lot of ‘lasts.’ Everyone else’s lives go on, but I was still stuck at home.”

The 21-year-old spent two weeks at Memorial Hospital in South Bend after the incident. His parents flew to South Bend to be with him during the initial surgeries. He returned home via train immediately following his hospital stay.

“The doctors said my parents and I had to ride an Amtrak train back to California because of damage done to my ear canals,” Garcia said. “A lot of my doctor appointments were at Stanford University.”

Although he said his health currently stands at 80 percent, Garcia said he feels great and is optimistic about his progress.

“I still have to get some more mobility in my leg, as I have been using electric scooters to get around,” Garcia said. “I am about 20 degrees short in range of motion on my right side, but that will be improved with physical therapy.”

His recovery will continue throughout the school year and beyond.

“There are still some surgeries to be had this summer, like some temporary dentures I have will be replaced,” the psychology and sociology double major said. “I feel good though, and I am definitely ready to be back on campus. The thing I missed the most is truly the academics.”

Garcia said he spent most of his time at home recovering and working on his jaw mobility to improve his chewing and biting abilities.

“I sat on my couch and watched TV the first few weeks,” Garcia said. “I was not very mobile, so I could not get out of the house as much as I would have liked.”

After gaining increased mobility, he tried to resume normal activities.

“I went to the library in town to do some academic reading and visited with friends from home during the Christmas break,” Garcia said. “I also went to the Notre Dame vs. Stanford football game in Palo Alto.”

Garcia said his doctors used one of his ribs to complete jaw reconstruction surgery after Thanksgiving.

“They took a rib from my body and reconstructed it completely,” Garcia said. “I was in the hospital for three days after that.”

The Notre Dame community has been supportive in the aftermath of his accident, Garcia said.

“I cannot say enough about everything the Office of Student Affairs did for me, especially Fr. Tom Doyle and Sr. Sue [Dunn],” Garcia said. “Fr. Jenkins contacted my parents to make sure everything was going well.”

Garcia said his professors for the upcoming spring semester have been understanding of his situation as well.

“They understand it might take a while for me to ease into an academic setting,” Garcia said.

The student body has also supported Garcia throughout his recovery.

“The number of letters and cards I received was amazing,” Garcia said. “I get Facebook messages from people I have never met, saying I have been in their thoughts and prayers. That speaks a lot of the Notre Dame community.”

Garcia said he is both excited and nervous to begin classes but knows he has the support of faculty and fellow students.

“I cannot stress enough how great the faculty and students have been,” Garcia said. “It is a great feeling to know you have support from so many people.”