MUSCATINE — The mother of a child who fell from a cliff Monday in Wildcat Den State Park said her son is recovering in the intensive care unit at University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City.
"He's doing really good," Sara Cox said of her son Jayden Cox, 9, who was air lifted from the park Monday afternoon after falling 20 to 25 feet from a cliff. Jayden has a head injury, a right subdural hematoma, Cox said, but no injuries to his brain.
A subdural hematoma is a pool of blood that forms in the outermost covering of the brain due to broken blood vessels. That kind of hematoma could push on the brain requiring surgery. Cox said tests at the hospital revealed no swelling in Jayden's brain, and he won't need surgery. She also said the neck support he wears may also soon be removed.
"We're making very good progress," she said. "There's a long road to recovery."
Jayden also suffered a dislocated elbow, two broken wrists, damage to organs including a laceration to his liver, a fractured pelvis and many cuts and bruises, Cox said.
She said she was at the park with Jayden and her other child, an 11-year old daughter, when the accident happened. Initial reports over scanner radio indicated a child had fallen from a cliff at the park and had a severe head injury. The report also said the child was unresponsive. Cox said Jayden was awake when she got to him at the park.
The family was hiking in the park Monday in the same area they had hiked just days earlier, Cox said, "so, (Jayden) was very confident."
She said Jayden told her after he fell he had been at the top of a cliff, holding on to a branch near the edge. He said he let go of the branch and told Cox it must've been slippery because that's when he fell. Jayden told his mom he hit both arms on the way down.
"There are no words to express the feeling," Cox said of the accident and everything that followed.
She said getting test results back showing no brain injury or need for surgery have provided some relief but she still isn't sure what to expect through Jayden's recovery. Medical staff are hoping to get Jayden started on physical therapy next week, she said, and expects to be in the hospital for awhile.
Jayden was able to name all of his third grade classmates at Colorado Elementary School, Cox said, and he still has his sense of humor.
"He said he was the Hulk going into his special spaceship," Cox said Jayden told her as he was about to go into the MRI machine for a scan.
"We have a very good support group," Cox said of her co-workers at DaBeet's Bistro and Colorado Elementary where she is a special education para educator.
"The community has definitely come together to support us," she said. "We're definitely very thankful."