Shooting survivor Cooper Roberts, 8, is moving to a rehabilitation center and plans to return to school this year

School is about to start and Cooper Roberts is excited.

This according to a statement from the family of the 8-year-old boy who is recovering from a serious gunshot wound sustained in the July 4 attack in Highland Park.

The statement released on Tuesday August 9 says the opportunity to enter Year Three, alongside his twin brother Luke and friends, at Braeside Elementary School in Highland Park has provided “tremendous motivation” as Cooper works through physical therapy and occupational therapy at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

After a month in the hospital, Cooper was moved to a rehabilitation center where he will remain for another five to 12 weeks, the statement said, making it possible he will return to school for half days in 2022.

The Roberts family, including Luke (bottom left), Cooper (bottom right) and Keely (far right), who were all injured during the
4th of July Parade in Highland Park.

Cooper, Luke and their mother, Keely Roberts, were among dozens injured in the shooting during the city’s July 4 parade in downtown Highland Park.

Luke, who was hit by shrapnel, and Keely, who was shot in the leg, were treated and sent home to recuperate. Cooper suffered a severed spinal cord, as well as injuries to his liver and esophagus, and is paralyzed from the waist down. He underwent numerous surgeries during his month-long stay in pediatric intensive care at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital.

Cooper was transferred to AbilityLab on August 1 and is receiving daily therapy, as well as personal counseling. According to the statement, post-traumatic stress symptoms, such as flashbacks, are disrupting Cooper’s sleep.

Due to continued swelling around Cooper’s spine, the AbilityLab could not have performed a full evaluation or provided a prognosis for Cooper’s recovery.

Cooper Roberts participates in occupational therapy at AbilityLab.

Cooper will return to the hospital this week for post-surgery checkups on a heart transplant he received as well as tears in his esophagus.

Cooper’s story captivated an international audience and a GoFundMe for the family raised over $1.7 million. The Roberts family is currently looking for short term housing as well as a wheelchair accessible vehicle to support Cooper’s rehabilitation.

What our family learned from this horrific event is not hate,” Keely said in a statement. “Instead, we have learned to see the incredibly generous, caring, good, and kind spirit that makes up the vast majority of our world. We have learned that good will always outweigh evil; love always wins .

“How we feel, after all we’ve been through, is truly grateful, hopeful and blessed.”

The Record is a non-profit, non-partisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible media coverage for your community.

Already subscribed? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

Previous Osceola Sheriff's Office and School District Announce New Safety Measures Including SRO Body Cameras, Real-Time School Cameras
Next Will this school year be more normal? Physicians and district administrators step in | Medicine