First-grader struck by projectile on Wisconsin school playground remains in a coma

National

SILVER LAKE, Wis. (AP/WGN) — A six-year-old boy who was struck in the head by a projectile while on the playground at his school in Kenosha County remains in critical condition and in a medically-induced coma following brain surgery, according to relatives.

Alex Hook is a first-grader at Riverview Elementary School in Silver Lake and was playing with classmates at recess Friday. Kenosha County sheriff’s officials say a landscaper was mowing the grassy median in the center of the street near the school.

Relatives say the landscaper apparently mowed over a piece of rebar which struck Alex directly in the back of his head. Alex suffered a skull fracture and brain bleeding and was flown to Children’s Wisconsin – Milwaukee Hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery.

“Nobody expects to bring their 6-year-old to school and have this happen,” Alex’s aunt, Michelle Delaquila Koertgen, told WGN News on Monday.

Koertgen said her nephew, who loves swimming, dinosaurs and his big brother Nathan, is expected to undergo an MRI to determine if there’s additional swelling in the brain.

“His older brother Nathan is on the autism spectrum. They do everything together. Attached at the hip,” she said. “He misses him. God knows when he’s going to see him again.”

It was last Friday when the family’s world was turned upside down. Koertgen recounts getting a call from her sister.

“She got a call saying Alex had been in an accident and she needed to get there immediately,” Koertgen said. “That’s where she saw her son laying on the ground bleeding from his head and having seizures.”

The principal of the school reviewed the surveillance video to determine the cause of the accident.

“She was able to see the projectile coming from underneath the deck of the lawnmower and hit him in the back of the head,” Koertgen said.

The boy’s aunt has started a GoFundMe page to pay for treatment not covered by insurance. The campaign has raised more than $76,000 of a $150,000 goal as of early Monday evening.

“I don’t understand why this happened,” Koertgen says, “But I want to make sure this little boy returns to the beautiful little boy he was before.”

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