Highland Park shooting victim Cooper Roberts, 8, to spend several weeks at rehab center before returning to school

“This is a huge motivation for Cooper as he is excited to return to the classroom and see his friends,” the Roberts family said in a statement.

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Cooper Roberts

Cooper Roberts

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Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who was shot and paralyzed in the Highland Park Fourth of July mass shooting, is expected to stay at a rehabilitation center for at least a month before going back to school.

Cooper will rejoin his twin brother, Luke, in third grade at Braeside Elementary after his stay at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for in-patient rehabilitation services for six to 12 weeks, the Roberts family said in a statement Tuesday.

“This is a huge motivation for Cooper as he is excited to return to the classroom and see his friends,” the family said, adding that Cooper will likely return to class for half-days to continue his work at AbilityLab.

Cooper, who underwent multiple surgeries in order to treat his wounds, was moved out of Comer Children’s Hospital last week and transferred to AbilityLab, a Streeterville facility formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

The center was unable to clearly determine the extent of Cooper’s injuries due to continued swelling. His full prognosis moving forward is still also unclear, the family said.

Cooper been participating in daily physical and occupational therapy to help him regain his strength and build mobility, his family said.

“Both Cooper and Luke are participating in private counseling and other mental health services to support their healing from the emotional and psychological trauma of the shooting,” the family said. “Cooper is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, including flashbacks that are disrupting his sleep.”

Robert E. Crimo III, 21, is facing multiple counts of murder and attempted murder after allegedly firing dozens of shots at Highland Park Fourth of July parade attendees from a rooftop with a military-style weapon. Seven people were killed and 48 wounded.

Cooper’s spinal cord was severed in the shooting. The bullet that tore through his body also damaged his liver, abdominal aorta and esophagus. Luke suffered shrapnel wounds to his leg and their mother, Keely Roberts, also was shot.

The family said they’ll be exploring new long-term housing as their current 100-year-old home in Highland Park can’t be reconfigured to accommodate Cooper’s rehabilitation needs. In the meantime, they’ll be seeking short-term rental housing that is accessible, the family said.

A GoFundMe organized by friends of the family has raised more than $1.7 million.

Contributing: Brett Chase

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