Boy survives head-first fall onto foot-long meat skewer

Ten-year-old impaled through his face after plummeting from tree while fleeing wasps

Meat skewer Missouri
X-ray of the meat skewer in Xavier Cunningham’s skull 
(Image credit: Twitter)

A ten-year-old boy has escaped with his life after falling head first from a tree onto a foot-long meat skewer that passed all the way through his skull.

Xavier Cunningham had been playing in a tree house at his home in Harrisonville, Missouri, when he was attacked by wasps. As he tried to escape the hornets, he tumbled from the branches onto the metal bar stuck in the ground below, which went through his face to the back of his head.

His mother, Gabrielle Miller, ran outside “when she heard screaming” and discovered her injured son, who still had half of the skewer sticking out of his face, says The Guardian. As they rushed to hospital, he “told her ‘I’m dying, Mom’”, adds the Chicago Sun Times.

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Incredibly, the skewer “completely missed the ten-year-old’s eye, brain, spinal cord and major blood vessels”, reports Sky News.

Dr Koji Ebersole, the neurologist who treated Xavier, said: “It was one in a million for it to pass five or six inches through the front of the face to the back and not have hit these things.

“I have not seen anything passed to that depth in a situation that was survivable, let alone one where we think the recovery will be near complete if not complete.”

About 100 medical workers were involved in Xavier’s surgery, on Sunday. Because the skewer was square with sharp edges, “the instrument needed to come out perfectly straight, and any error could have made his injuries more serious”, the news site explains.

Xavier is expected to be discharged later this week, and is already “playing video games in his hospital room and joking with family, who see a higher power at play in Xavier’s survival”, says CNN.

“He could’ve bled to death in that field, covered in [wasps],” said the boy’s father, Shannon Miller. “Only God could have directed things to happen in a way that would save him like this… it really was a miracle.”

The family have dubbed Xavier the Missouri Miracle and have started a crowdfunding page to help pay for his medical costs.

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