Ethan Kadish was simply enjoying a summer day when he suffered a devastating injury. Kadish and two other children were struck by lightning as they played Frisbee at a summer camp last June. Ethan's heart temporarily stopped, leaving his brain deprived of vitally needed oxygenated blood.
As a result of the oxygen deprivation, Ethan suffered a hypoxic brain injury, which has left him unable to walk or talk. He spent five months in the hospital, and a gastrointestinal perforation put him back in the hospital just 10 days after he was released.
In spite of these setbacks, earlier this month Ethan returned to school, less than a year after his initial injury.
Now in a wheelchair and with a nurse, Kadish is able to attend classes at his middle school three days a week. He cannot talk, but works with teachers in the special education classroom. His mother Alexia Kadish, of Loveland, Ohio., said after just a few weeks at school they have already seen a difference in Ethan.
"It's been more amazing than we could have imagined," Kadish said. "We initially thought any sort of schooling would be homebound initially."
Kadish said Ethan has been sleeping better on days when he's at school. Ethan also gets visits from his old friends when he's at school.
Even his younger sister will sometimes walk over from her fifth grade class room to visit him.
Kadish said Ethan's road to recovery will be a long process and even doctors don't know exactly how much his brain will recover from the injury. The eighth grader, who loved sports and musicals, no longer speaks but he has started laughing again.
"He laughs a lot. He even accesses the sad side ... it's more a of a pouting cry," Kadish said. "He's accessing the emotional areas of his brain. We're hopeful that it indicates that he's becoming more present."