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8-year-old boy is paralyzed after Highland Park shootout came out for first time since July 4, morale boosted despite critical condition, after gift from Milwaukee Brewers

It has been almost 20 days since 8-year-old Cooper Roberts was hospitalized after being seriously injured in the shooting at the Independence Day Parade in Highland Park. The bullet caused injuries that left the boy paralyzed from the waist down and despite some progress he remains in critical condition, according to a family statement.

After Cooper’s seventh surgery, an urgent operation to close a tear that reopened in his esophagus, the boy’s health suddenly deteriorated more than a week ago. Since then, his recovery has been “up and down”.

Although he remains in the pediatric intensive care unit, Cooper stepped out in a wheelchair on Thursday – his first time outside since the life-changing Independence Day parade. His spirits were lifted after he received a care package from the Milwaukee Brewers, his favorite baseball team, which included a jersey with his name on it.

Doctors had downgraded his condition to serious, but he was later downgraded to critical condition after a CT scan showed the concerning fluid in his pelvis to be an abscess. His fever also increased intermittently following a possible infection, according to the family statement.

But even as the medical team continues to assess next steps, Cooper was finally able to take fluid by mouth for the first time on Thursday, as his esophagus continues to heal from surgeries, the spokesperson said. Anthony Loizzi family.

“The family continues to be very grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support and well wishes,” Loizzi said in the statement.

Last week the family reported that the boy was making “encouraging progress” after a sudden regression after his seventh operation. Cooper was taken off the ventilator and given a “brief first ride in a wheelchair”.

“Unfortunately something he will have to get used to. It was very difficult and emotional for him and his family,” Loizzi added.

Cooper’s mother, Keely Roberts, superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6, and her husband, Jason Roberts, attended the 4th of July parade with their 8-year-old twins. The mother was shot in the foot and leg, and Luke, Cooper’s twin brother, was wounded in the leg by shrapnel.

The family thanked the rescuers, police, firefighters and medical personnel who saved Cooper’s life. “It was a real miracle,” they said.

While the boy was initially believed to have been shot in the chest, doctors at Highland Park Hospital previously released a statement saying the bullet entered his abdomen rather than his chest.

“The bullet entered his upper abdomen, injuring the left lobe of his liver, his esophagus near his stomach, his abdominal aorta and exited through his back, injuring his spinal cord,” Highland medics said. Park in a July 10 statement. his serious and life-threatening injuries had been treated and he was stable enough to be transferred to Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago for continued care.

Even after undergoing multiple surgeries for injuries sustained in the mass shooting, her mother, Keely Roberts, told doctors she needed to be released from the hospital she was in so she could be with Cooper, who was in another hospital, Loizzi said.

“Please continue to send love and prayers to my son as he continues to fight as hard as he can,” she said when Cooper’s condition improved. became “very critical” after his last operation.

A GoFundMe page for the family collects donations.

larodriguez@chicagotribune.com

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