On Nov. 8, 2008, Robert Aliano, a Quinnipiac University senior from Miller Place, was struck in a hit-and-run near his off-campus house in Connecticut. He suffered a traumatic brain injury so severe his doctors gave him a 1 percent chance of recovery. He underwent extensive rehabilitation that brought him to family friend Jerry Figgiani, owner of East Coast Black Belt Academy in Middle Island, who uses martial arts to help Robert regain his physical abilities. But it’s an emotional journey for Figgiani as well — this mission hits closer to home than anyone thought.
Credit: Randee Daddona