Family of 7-year-old Alex Hook, who suffered a brain injury last year after a projectile from a lawnmower struck his head, have tentative plans for Alex to return to school Monday after a “fantastic” Christmas.
Michelle Koertgen, Alex’s aunt, said that Alex has been looking forward to seeing his friends again.
“He’s actually really excited to return to school because he misses his friends,” Koertgen said. “He needs to get back to some normalcy. It’ll help him overall to be around his friends.”
Last September, Alex, the son of Kirbey and Caryn Hook of Silver Lake, was struck in the head while at recess at Riverview Elementary in Silver Lake when a piece of rebar was ejected from a lawnmower that was cutting grass near the playground.
Alex was flown to intensive care at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital in Wauwatosa, suffering a fractured skull and bleeding in his brain. Since then, Koertgen said Alex has undergone multiple surgeries, at one point being put into a medically-induced coma.
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Long road ahead
Although his condition has improved, Koertgen said the family was still meeting with neurosurgeons and therapists to help Alex on what could be a long road ahead.
“With a traumatic brain injury, it can be months before you know something is wrong,” Koertgen said.
Even if he returns to school, Koertgen said Alex won’t be able to play sports, go out to recess or go to gym class.
“He can’t hit his head,” Koertgen emphasized. “It’s kind of disheartening, you know now his life is going to be different.”
Although Koertgen said the family is grateful for his recovery so far, learning about the new limits Alex would have to face were “another punch” for Alex’s parents.
“She’s (Alex’s mother) the one that has to explain this to him,” Koertgen said. “He’s not going to be happy with these limitations for a year. A year to a 7-year-old is a completely different thing than to us.”
Grateful for support
Despite the difficulties, the family has plenty to be grateful for, Koertgen said. Fundraising efforts for Alex’s medical expenses have raised around a quarter of a million dollars, according to Koertgen.
“The generosity of people is truly amazing,” Koertgen said. “We’re in awe of the generosity of people who don’t even know him.”
Koertgen said they’ve received donations from every state in the U.S., as well from South Africa, Germany and Ireland.
And on Christmas, the family tree was surrounded by stacks of donated gifts.
“My sister literally was in tears,” Koertgen said. “We’re hoping that 2022 is going to be a happy, and most importantly healthy, new year.”
More information and updates on Alex’s condition can be found on his GoFundme page.
WATCH NOW: Village rekindles Twelfth Night celebration with caroling, bonfire and hot chocolate following yearlong pause
PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The village rekindled its love for warmth of community winter gatherings with its annual Twelfth Night tradition at the RecPlex Wruck Beach Pavilion Thursday night.
About 150 people turned out for the event, coordinated through the Pleasant Prairie Convention and Visitors Bureau and the local historical society.
Once a tradition of the village in the 1980s that featured caroling while sharing leftover holiday treats and hot cocoa, along with a bonfire of Christmas trees, it had gone on a lengthy hiatus before being revived in 2020. A year ago, it was postponed due to a number of community safety issues.
This year's event also featured a fundraising campaign via the sale of ornaments and donations to support the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society's efforts to restore the first apparatus the Pleasant Prairie Fire and Rescue Department purchased when it was first established — a 1935 Peter Pirsch Model 21 Fire Engine.
The village rekindled its love for warmth of community winter gatherings with its annual Twelfth Night tradition at the RecPlex Wruck Beach Pa…
Twelfth Night tradition continues
Tommy Aikens, left, with wife McKenna and children Parker, 4, and Emery, 6, of Pleasant Prairie attend the village’s annual Twelfth Night cele…
Families turn out to enjoy the annual Twelfth Night celebration at the Wruck Beach Pavilion of the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie Thursday night,…
Dan Petitte, left, the inaugural honorary holiday "cheer meister" for Pleasant Prairie's annual Twelfth Night celebration assists Trever Schoe…
Michelle Williamson, left, Pleasant Prairie Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director stands alongside Dan Petitte of Pleasant Prairie…
A crowd gathers to sing Christmas carols around a bonfire that includes more than 100 Christmas trees disposed of safely with the help of the…
A village firefighter accepts a last-minute Christmas tree donation for the bonfire during Pleasant Prairie's Twelfth Night celebration, Thurs…
While the crowd looks on, flames shoot into the air as more than a 100 Christmas trees provided fuel for a bonfire during the Pleasant Prairie…
A Pleasant Prairie firefighter drags another tree into the bonfire during the village's Twelfth Night celebration Thursday Jan. 6, 2022.
A village firefighter stokes the pile of Christmas trees that provided a bonfire with brilliant illumination and warmth amid temperatures in t…