Thursday, August 26, 2010

Freed Cuban Prisoner Released From Hospital

Freed Cuban Prisoner Released From Hospital
Ariel Sigler Amaya Continues Recovery
POSTED: Thursday, August 26, 2010

MIAMI -- A former Cuban boxer released from a Cuban prison after seven
years left a South Florida hospital Thursday after a month of
rehabilitation for his medical problems.

When Ariel Sigler Amaya left the prison, he was in poor health and
paralyzed from the waist down.

Watch: Video

For the past month, Amaya has been undergoing rehabilitation at Jackson
Memorial Hospital. Doctors said his condition improved tremendously.

Surrounded by family and friends and wearing a traditional guayabera
shirt, Ariel Sigler Amaya emerged from Jackson Memorial Hospital's rehab
center Thursday looking stronger and healthier.

"Leaving the hospital, I feel very strong. I feel revived in body and
spirit -- just stronger in general, because today, I'm going home,"
Amaya said.

Doctors said Amaya put on 18 pounds since his arrival in the U.S. in
late July and that his progress is above average for somebody who was in
his condition.

"From his initial admission, about two days within his admission, he was
already at the advancement of someone who had been here for about two
weeks," said Dr. Jasmine Martinez Barrizonte.

Four weeks after his arrival, Amaya can get in and out of his wheelchair
by himself, and doctors said there is a good chance he will walk again.

"We're still very optimistic. At this point, we haven't seen any
recovery, but there have been some signs that are optimistic," Martinez
Barrizonte said.

The doctor said the signs included Amaya's feeling sensation in his legs
and being able to use the restroom on his own.

Amaya was imprisoned for opposing the Cuban government. He was released
in June as part of a deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church.

Amaya already has plans for the future.

"My position has always been to continue the fight for the liberty of
the Cuban people," Amaya said.

Doctors said Amaya will continue treatment at Jackson as an outpatient
and will visit the hospital for therapy two to three times per week.

The former boxer said he is going to keep working until he can walk again.

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