49ers fan punched during NFC championship out of coma
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A San Francisco 49ers fan who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being punched during a confrontation at SoFi Stadium in January is out of a coma and back in the San Francisco Bay Area, his attorney and a family friend said Wednesday. A suspect was criminally charged earlier this month.
Daniel Luna, a chef and restaurant owner from Oakland, had to be put into a medically induced coma in Los Angeles after he was punched, fell and struck his head on the ground during the NFC championship game between the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams.
Bryan Alexis Cifuentes-Rossell, 33, faces one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury. The charge was filed March 2 but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not announce it until Wednesday following news reports of Luna’s recovery.
Cifuentes-Rossell was released on $30,000 bail; his arraignment is scheduled for August. A phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.
“We want to continue to ensure that our sporting events are safe for everyone,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “We will not tolerate violent behavior at what should have been a joyous occasion for our county.”
A spokesperson for the DA’s office said Wednesday that he did not have information on whether Cifuentes-Rossell has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Surveillance video showed Luna mingling in a crowd of about 16 people, most of them wearing what appeared to be 49ers jerseys, when he pushed a man wearing a Rams jersey from behind. When Luna turned to walk away, the man pushed Luna back. When Luna turned, the man punched him in the mouth, causing Luna to fall to the ground and hit the back of his head.
After the Jan. 30 confrontation that officials said lasted less than five seconds, Luna underwent surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to relieve pressure on the right side of his head and remained in a coma until recently.
Luna, 40, woke up from the coma in the last week or two and returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where he is hospitalized and working on his recovery, said Sam Singer, a friend of Luna and his wife Irena.
“Many doctors gave him like under 5% chance of recovering and many were concerned that he might be on some form of life support forever so, to be where he is at now is a certifiable miracle but he still has a long way to go,” Singer said.
Jonathan Davis, an attorney for the Luna family, confirmed to AP that Luna is out of the coma and hopes to be discharged from a rehabilitation facility soon.
“He’s doing remarkably well given the circumstances he’s in,” Davis said. “He has a great sense of humor and just a great spirit.”
Davis said the family supports the DA’s move to file a case against Cifuentes-Rossell and is cooperating with investigators.
Singer, a public relations expert who has been helping the Luna family, said Luna is getting physical, occupational and speech therapy and that reopening his restaurant Mistura in Oakland soon keeps him pushing forward.
“He had to set up goals with his physical therapist and his number one goal was to get back to cooking,” Singer said.
This story has been corrected to remove an inaccurate reference to the city where the fan was punched.