true-sf-giants-new-era-cap.jpgBryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan severely beaten after a game in Los Angeles in March, is showing significant improvement after undergoing a third round of surgery Wednesday, according to a statement released today by San Francisco General Hospital.

“Mr. Stow is awake and breathing on his own,” the statement said.

“He is following simple commands and beginning to interact with his family.

The goal now is to place him in a rehabilitation facility as soon as he no longer requires acute hospital care.”

Stow was attacked outside of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after the March 31 season opener. He was walking from the game with three friends when two men wearing Dodgers clothing approached him from behind, according to Los Angeles police.

The two suspects first taunted Stow, who was wearing Giants paraphernalia, and then hit him from behind, which caused him to fall to the ground. They kicked Stow while on the ground before fleeing in a car, and Stow was rushed to a local hospital.

Swelling in Stow’s brain prompted Los Angels doctors to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain. Doctors from San Francisco General Hospital said the procedure saved Stow’s life, but that replacing the missing skull fragment has remained challenging.

Doctors attempted to replace the skull fragment in mid-July, but that caused complications when fluid collected and was trapped underneath the fragment, and doctors were forced to operate within an hour of replacing the bone fragment.

On Wednesday, doctors again replaced the skull fragment with a custom prosthetic bone flap, and this time Stow appears to be tolerating the procedure well, hospital officials said. Doctors continue to closely observe Stow but are optimistic about his recent progress.

Doctors said that while recent developments have been encouraging, they must continue to be vigilant as the complexity of such brain injuries can create many challenging and unexpected problems.

Before his injury, the 42-year-old Santa Cruz father of two worked as a paramedic in Santa Clara County. Last week, two men charged with Stow’s beating pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, each pleaded not guilty to one count of mayhem and assault in connection with the attack on Stow, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison.

The two men were arrested in late July after police examined hundreds of clues and interviewed hundreds of witnesses. The arrest of Sanchez and Norwood came as a surprise because police had already arrested a different suspect, Giovanni Ramirez, but exonerated him shortly after arresting Sanchez and Norwood.

Sanchez and Norwood are next scheduled to appear in court Sept. 30 at 8:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

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