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Daniel Franco: The comeback of miracles

Photo courtesy of GoFundMe.
19
Jul

Daniel Franco, the fighter who suffered severe head trauma on June 10 in a fight against Jose Haro, in Sloan, Iowa, is making great strides these days.

Like, miraculous level-type strides…

In fact, the California-bred boxer was flown back home on Monday and his family is pleased that the 25-year-old is making such progress.

He had less than a 20 percent chance of surviving brain surgeries, following his entry into a medically-induced comatose state, but he is out of the coma, has made it into a rehab center and is now walking on his own.

His father, Al Franco, appeared on the EVERLAST podcast “TalkBOX” and gave us an update on his son’s condition.

“The short-term memory is just coming back. (Daniel) learned just a couple days ago that he lost the fight,” the father said, on July 14.

Before the Haro bout, Daniel was 16-1-3 (11 knockouts) and fighting at featherweight. His dad, who worked as his trainer, recommends that trainers need to pay attention to different pain signals. “A headache” is something to really pay attention to, he cautioned.

Al also shared that his son suffered skull and orbital bone fractures, six-to-12 months prior. Thus, Al said, his severe head trauma resulted because he had that pre-existing damage.

Doctors opened his skull three times, the second time attending to bleeding that occurred prior to the Haro fight. Maybe, Al said, there had been some signs that his kid was off or some hints that he’d been injured before, which he missed.

We also talked about the health care/insurance system with which we deal in America. People struck by a severe medical issue needing to set up a GoFundMe in order to attend to the bills sent by those offering the treatment. Al said he’s begun receiving bills; Daniel went into the hospital on June 11 and the bill from that first day was $185,000.

That’s not a typo…

The bills overall were running to $1.2 million the week that we spoke to Al, and heading toward $2 million. Other costs are hitting Al and his wife hard. The costs to travel from California to Iowa and then Nebraska, where Daniel was moved, are immense.

Al’s wife works, and has insurance through that company, but has been taking time off, without pay, because she used up her vacation time. Now her insurance is at risk of being pulled because she isn’t working. The insurance company is “trying to weasel out of covering” said Al. United Healthcare is the insurer, the father told me, while her employer has been quite decent during this trying time.

Donors can visit Go Fund Me, and search for Daniel “Twitch” Franco to help defray the exorbitant medical costs.

“It’s laughable because it’s so insane,” said Al, who deserves a medal for his disposition during this ordeal. This, while he drives from California to Iowa because the cost of a flight is sky-high.

Again, is wife is off for three months, with no pay, so Al has to try and keep working to scare up some cash. He owns a boxing gym, War Zone Boxing Club, in Rialto, California.

Al thanked people like Jim Lampley and Lou DiBella, who have paid into the GoFundMe effort. “Once Daniel’s here home, I will deal with everything else, the bills,” he said. “It can’t be my main focus…There’s a lot and it gets overwhelming, at times, but you gotta keep pushing.”

I checked back in with Al on July 19. The strides Daniel makes continue to be immense. “He arrived in California, Monday,” Al said. “He’s way, way ahead of schedule. His voice is coming back; his movement is better. We were hoping that, within a year, he’d be back to where he’s at now!”

Now at a rehab center in Pomona, the young man doesn’t recall the fight in which he took part. Dad, meanwhile, is, of course, buoyant that Daniel is improving so much but must juggle the unpleasant side of reality that is living in a society in which a catastrophic medical event will bankrupt you. The first surgery cost $185,000, the second a bit less and the third, in which Daniel’s his bone flap was re-attached, hasn’t been received yet by the Francos.

Shining a light on the absurdity of our medical/health care system is but a part of the fight for the Franco family, within the new framework which they are negotiating with strength and dignity.

 

 

 

You can visit and follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.

 

 

 

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