Champion kayakist recovering, moved to rehab hospital

Jasmine Feingold nearly drowned in the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv a week ago when her kayak overturned.

Jasmine Feingold, the 20-year-old top kayakist who nearly drowned in the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv a week ago when her kayak overturned, was transferred from Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center to the Beit Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital in Ra'anana on Wednesday. The champion sportswoman is now fully conscious and able to speak and to walk somewhat, but she will still need a long period of rehabilitation. She told her mother, Elizabeth, that she remembered some of Magen David Adom's efforts to resuscitate herself but not the overturning or her legs being caught in the kayak. Feingold has yet to meet with 62-year-old Avi Toibin who jumped into the river to save her, but he has spoken to her mother by phone. Toibin did not hesitate to jump into the river, even though no one else dared to do so due to fears that the water was polluted. In 1997, four athletes were killed, two of them from water pollution, when a bridge over a different section of the river collapsed as the Australian delegation crossed into the Ramat Gan Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 15th Maccabiah. Prof. Yaacov Hart, the rehabilitation hospital's director, said Jasmine is improving and even said she wants to return to her kayak, but that it will take days of examination and testing to know if she suffers from brain damage. Difficulty concentrating almost always results from such accidents. Beit Loewenstein has 50 years of experience rehabilitating victims of head injuries. More than 80 percent of head trauma victims who arrive unconscious at the hospital regain consciousness and continue on to get rehabilitation from its world-famous interdisciplinary rehabilitation team, Hart said. Feingold's mother asked journalists to respect their privacy and not to hound them for interviews or photos.