MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. — A boy is being called a miracle after suffering severe brain trauma from a dune buggy accident. He came back to life after his parents signed the paperwork to donate his organs, CNN affiliate WALA reports.
Trenton McKinley, 13, was playing at a friend’s house two months ago, riding in a small utility trailer being pulled by a dune buggy for kids. McKinley said his friend pressed on the breaks suddenly, causing the trailer to flip. He said he quickly threw his friend’s 4-year-old niece off into the grass, but in the process, he got caught in the trailer as it flipped.
“I hit the concrete and the trailer landed on top of my head. After that, I don’t remember anything,” he said.
He was rushed to USA Medical Center for emergency surgery. He had seven skull fractures.
“All I saw was a stretcher with his feet hanging out. He was dead a total of 15 minutes,” said his mother, Jennifer Reindl, with tears in her eyes. “When he came back, they said he would never be normal again. They told me the oxidation problems would be so bad to his brain, that he would be a vegetable if he even made it.”
For the next several days, McKinley was brain dead and barely breathing. His parents were faced with a difficult decision. They signed the papers to donate his organs.
“Five kids needed organs that matched him,” Reindl said. “It was unfair to keep bringing him back, because it was just damaging his organs even more.”
A day before doctors were set to pull the plug, McKinley started showing signs of cognition. He believes he was in heaven while he was gone.
“I was in an open field walking straight,” McKinley said. “There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.”
Slowly but surely, McKinley is making strides beyond what anyone expected, but it’s not without a struggle. He’s lost 50 pounds, and deals with nerve pain and seizures daily. Despite all that, he still has a great sense of humor.
“I said, I could turn sideways and put salsa in there and eat chips and dip out of my head. No more washing dishes for me!” he laughed as he referred to the dent in his head. “She wouldn’t let me put nothing in it, though. I really wanted to see if I could.”
Talking to the young boy, you would never believe he has already been through three brain surgeries. He still has a long road ahead with a lot of medical expenses. McKinley currently only has half of his skull. The missing piece is frozen at the hospital. He will have surgery soon to reconnect it.