The News Messenger, Christiansburg, September 6, 1997

By Dee Ann Lindsey - Special to New River Newspapers

RADFORD - Eleven-year-old Daniel Jason Rooker V, who was critically injured in an accident on June 13, 1996, died Thursday [Sept. 4, 1997] at his home at Claytor Lake.

Jason was the son of D. Gregory "Greg" Rooker and Fran Rooker.

According to reports, Jason was found dead in his bed about 7 a.m. Thursday.

Since the accident, Jason had been unable to walk or speak but reportedly had been responding well to physical therapy in recent weeks.

Only about a week ago, a plea was made by a close family friend, Eugene Nuckols, for volunteers to aid in the physical therapy, which took five people to administer.

Jason had only been home since April. His mother, Fran, said at that time, "We could tell when he got here he recognized the place by the look in his eyes,"

On June 13, 1996, Jason, who was then 10, was playing in the yard of the family home on Claytor Lake, According to a state police report at the time, at some point, he tied a rope to a tree branch, climbed a 5-foot fence post, and then either jumped or fell. In doing so, he become entangled in the rope.

When his parents found him, they cut the rope and began giving CPR, which revived the child.


However, he suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. The injury affects the entire brain, and the longer the brain is deprived of oxygen, the more profound the injury. Throughout Jason's time at the University of Virginia Hospital's Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville, the Rookers remained optimistic about the prospects for their son's recovery.

The Rookers also obtained special training to work with Jason at home. They also renovated their house to make it handicapped accessible.

Following the accident, there was an outpouring of sympathy, and the Rookers noted recently that they decided to be candid with the public about their son's accident.

"We wanted to showed this can happen to anybody. People need to see something like this. I hope it will awaken people to others and their support to others," said Fran Rooker in a recent interview.

In addition to his parents, Jason is survived by two sisters, Jennifer and Stephanie.

Greg Rooker is a former publisher of the Radford News Journal and also the Southwest Times in Pulaski.


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