Jonah Wagner ’19, ’20 experienced a life-changing event in July 2021.
A car accident left him with a severe traumatic brain injury. He was placed in a medically induced coma while brain swelling and massive infections throughout his body prevented him from the surgeries he needed.
Yet, over the coming months, the Wagner family witnessed improvement that seemed nothing short of miraculous. Today, doctors confirm that Jonah has defied the odds.
“Early on in my journey, I accepted that I was still alive because God had a purpose for me and that I would recover,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be on my timeline, but on God’s.”
The Wagner family has always relied heavily on their faith and trust in God, and the same was true from the time Jonah was taken to the hospital to today.
“I felt so strongly about God getting us through that I don’t remember ever being angry about the situation,” said Kim, Jonah’s mother. “It was clear that God was trying to tell us to have hope and that it was going to be OK.”
Jonah is grateful that God gave him an obvious way to “take up his cross.”
“In order to develop into the character God has designed us to be, we must encounter challenges and hardships and confront them willingly,” he said. “After all, who really wants to go on an adventure where everything is guaranteed and comfortable?”
On his 26th birthday in April 2023 — nearly two years after his accident — Jonah graduated from therapy at the Newton YMCA, surrounded by approximately 30 family and friends, Newman Triathlon Coach Jeff Lovgren and staff of Minds Matter LLC. Jonah completed a 200-yard swim, a 2.5-mile stationary bike ride and 1-mile walk around the track. He even beat his practice times.
As he continues to recover, Jonah is set to graduate for the third time from Newman with his Doctorate in Business Administration in 2026.
Jonah’s journey is nowhere near over, but one thing is certain: “I will continue to pray and lean on God every day.”