Man who was sucker punched in downtown Orlando paralyzed - FOX 35 News Orlando

Man who was sucker punched in downtown Orlando paralyzed

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Up until six weeks ago, Jeffery Metz was an independent, successful salesman.  The 30-year-old man's life changed the second police said he was sucker punched by a stranger in downtown Orlando on Orange Avenue. 

"On July 10th, we were notified by the emergency room that our son was attacked and brought into the Emergency Room unresponsive," said Jeffery's mother, Florence.  

Police released surveillance video of a man running from the scene, captured in the seconds after the attack.  Investigators say they think that man threw the punch.  They believe two guys who look up towards the camera are his friends. 

When asked if Jeffery knew what had happened to him, Florence responds, "To our knowledge, he does not.  It's tough, because you're asking only 'yes' and 'no' questions, and he shakes his head.  But you don't know how much of that he understands or what happened that night." 

Since the attack, doctors removed parts of Jeffery's skull to relieve brain swelling.  He spent three weeks in a medically-induced coma. 

"This morning he said 'Mom!'  It was like the greatest day I've ever had at this point," said Florence. 

Just this week, he was moved out of intensive care, but he remains hooked up to several machines.  But that's not the worst of it. 

"At this point, he is not able to move his lower extremities," said Jeffery's dad, Bill.  "That's what we're going to the rehab facility for, to see if we can rehab him and how much movement and activity we're going to be able to get back into his life."  

The prospect of paralysis leaves Jeffery's parents feeling horrible.

"He's always been an athlete.  Played college soccer.  And him and I have always been interactive in fishing and hunting together.  It's just a horrible feeling.   I don't know what else to say," Bill said, trying to fight back tears.

That's why his parents are begging for help from anyone who may have been on Orange Ave. at the time of the attack or who may recognize the man in the surveillance video. 

"I would ask that they take some time and seriously look at these pictures, and give us some help.  I think it would be easier to explain to my son if we could say we did everything thing to find who did this to you.  He was just out with his friends playing trivia.  He was heading on his way home.  There's no rhyme or reason for this kind of violence,"  said Florence.

If you have any information in this case, you're asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477), or the Orlando Police Department.  Crimeline is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

Just this week, he was moved out of intensive care, but he remains hooked up to several machines. 

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