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Fast Action Saved Dallas Boy After Head Injury

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Karen Borta-2013 Karen Borta
Karen is a veteran journalist who joined CBS 11 News in 1995. Prior to...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It was a simple playground accident that could happen to any of our children. A Dallas father speaks out about what happened to his son last week, and why he’s warning other parents to keep a close eye on their kids.

For fourth grade teacher Kelsey Truckenbrod, the end of the school year at Merriman Park Elementary School in Dallas is one she’ll never forget. Last Tuesday, during an impromptu touch-football game at recess, Truckenbrod saw two of her students slam into each other. “Right out behind shortstop, the boys collided, and I just ran,” she said.

One boy got up with just an injured knee, but 10-year-old Ethan Fox lay on the ground unconscious. “The whole time I was on the ground with Ethan, just holding his hand, talking to him and trying to get him to talk to me or squeeze my hand, but I just wasn’t getting the response that I was hoping for,” Truckenbrod said.

She acted fast, calling 911 while other teachers contacted Ethan’s dad. “The paramedics were so amazing, so calm, and kept me calm on the phone,” she said.

Ethan was rushed to Children’s Medical Center with his dad, Jason Fox, by his side. “I was yelling his name,” Fox recalled. “I was clapping saying ‘Ethan, Ethan, stay with us!'” The Fox family soon learned just how serious the situation was.

According to Dr. Bradley Weprin from Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern, Ethan suffered a skull fracture that lacerated one of his arteries. He says that Ethan was hit on the side of his head by the other child’s knee, causing his brain and the area around it to fill with blood. “That bleeding acted as a mass, compressing the brain onto the brain stem,” said Dr. Weprin.

Injuries like Ethan’s happen more often than you’d think. In fact, 564,000 children are treated nationwide for traumatic brain injuries every year. Hours after Ethan came out of surgery, a celebration erupted when he finally woke up. “When he did that, there were cheers in the room from everybody,” Fox remembered.

Dr. Weprin says, had it not been for the quick thinking of Truckenbrod and others at the school, things would’ve been much worse. “If he hadn’t been gotten to 10, 15, 20 minutes, he may not be here,” Dr. Weprin said.

“Everything has been amazing,” Fox said about the care that Ethan has received. “He comprehends, he’s written his name… maybe even better than he normally does. It’s been miraculous.”

Ethan’s hospital room filled with well-wishes from his fellow students, including a letter from the boy with whom he collided. “Dear Ethan, I’m so, so, so sorry for hurting you this bad,” the letter read. “I would never want to hurt you because you’re my best friend. I knew you would be ok because you’re in great hands.”

Just four days after the accident, Ethan was released from Children’s Medical Center with a new haircut, and a scar to serve as proof that every second counts when it comes to saving a life. “It was probably minutes,” Fox said. “Fifteen minutes or so from a totally different outcome.”

Dr. Weprin says head injuries should never be taken lightly, and that Ethan’s story should serve as a reminder to all parents to educate themselves about the signs of potential head injuries. He says if your child ever hits his or her head, be on the lookout for any unusual behavioral changes or a loss of consciousness. Those could be signs of a more serious injury.

The Fox family would like to thank everyone involved in Ethan’s miraculous recovery, and ask that if you’d like to help out, make a donation in Ethan’s name to the Dallas Fire-Rescue by using the adopt-a-station program.

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