SOUTH AMBOY — A 19-year-old woman who was punched in the face by a man after she hit him, knocking her unconscious, has returned home from a hospital after more than two months.

Emily Rand, a student at Middlesex Community College, had been recovering at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital after the Halloween weekend incident. After several surgeries, she's back home with her aunt, Debbie O'Connor, and her uncle, Bob.

The family celebrated her return with dinner out, but Rand had to wear a helmet to protect an incision in her head, her aunt wrote on Facebook.

Emily Rand and her aunt Debbie O'Connor after her return home (Bob O'Connor)

"She was a little embarrassed to go to restaurant with helmet on, but I told her don't worry about what others think — it is for your safety," Debbie O'Connor wrote on a Facebook page where she has posted regular updates on Rand's progress.

"Once we got home she wanted to straighten up her room, which was full of all the bags she accumulated while in the hospital/rehab," Debbie O'Connor, who is a nurse, wrote.

Rand has also been to church with her family and watched the Giants game with her grandparents.

Debbie O'Connor declined to answer additional questions when reached by phone.

No charges were filed by New Brunswick Police against the man who slugged Rand in the face, after an investigation into the incident that police Captain J.T. Miller said was considered a "mutually exclusive fight" between Rand and the man.

A short video of the incident captured on a cell phone shows a loud crowd watching as a  blonde female punches a man dressed in a gray sweatshirt with black and white sleeves and a black baseball cap on Hamilton Street near Rutgers University. He then punches her hard, and she falls straight back onto the sidewalk. Someone leads the male away from the scene, leaving the motionless woman behind.

“I don’t condone her throwing the first punch. If he grabbed her and just held her it would have been OK,” O’Connor said just after the incident.

A woman named Connie claiming to be the male's mother told New Jersey 101.5's Deminski and Doyle that her son was caught off guard by the initial punch thrown by Rand and didn't realize she was a woman.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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