An 8-year-old boy who was shot during the Highland Park Fourth of July parade is expected to return to the classroom in the fall, according to his family.
Cooper Roberts was left paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot in the abdomen, suffering a severed spinal cord.
He has been in the hospital since the shooting outside of Chicago but is expected to start third grade at Braeside Elementary School in Highland Park in the fall — alongside his twin brother Luke — in six to 12 weeks.
“This is a huge motivation for Cooper as he is excited to return to the classroom and see his friends,” read a statement on the family’s GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $1.7 million. “He will likely return to classes for half-days and continue to participate in long-term outpatient physical and occupational therapy at AbilityLab for the part of the day.”
The statement said both Cooper and Luke are undergoing private counseling to support their healing from the emotional and psychological trauma of the deadly shooting, in which seven people were killed.
“Cooper is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, including flashbacks that are disrupting his sleep,” it read.
The online fundraiser was started to help the family cover the cost of medical bills as they search for a home that is wheelchair assessable for Cooper once he’s released from inpatient care, as their current home cannot be reconfigured to accommodate his rehabilitation needs for home-based therapies. They also need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to support their ability to transport Cooper.
The update says Cooper remains under the care of physicians at University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital and he will be transported back there this week so surgeons can check on his healing from previous surgeries, including a heart graft and esophageal tear repairs.
Cooper was one of dozens wounded when alleged gunman Robert “Bobby” Crimo III opened fire on the Fourth of July celebration. Two of his family members were also injured in the shooting; his mother Keely was shot in the foot and leg areas and Luke was hit with shrapnel.
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