A Wilber-Clatonia High School student has undergone emergency surgery for a head injury after a sledding accident in the Crete area Saturday night, his father said Monday.
Junior Tyler Hooper remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Bryan West Campus, a hospital spokesman said.
Hooper was on a sled being pulled by a pickup driven by a friend when the sled accidentally hit a mailbox sometime after 8 p.m., his father, Justin Hooper, told reporters.
Hooper said he still didn't know some of the details of his son's crash, including exactly where it occurred.
But his son's condition had stabilized Monday, and doctors had seen positive signs.
Surgery Sunday stopped bleeding on Hooper's brain, and his medications were reduced slightly Monday, Justin Hooper said.
"He gave me two thumbs-up today, which was great to see, but as of right now, it's just day-by-day, hour-by-hour," the elder Hooper said.
His son loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing and high school athletics.
Hooper has played on the Wilber-Clatonia football team and has thrown the discus for the track team.
He used to wrestle but decided to focus on track this year instead.
School District Superintendent Ray Collins described Hooper as a good student and said the school has made counselors available to his peers.
Friends, coaches and members of the Wilber community have rallied around the family, Justin Hooper said.
He called it an "unfortunate accident."
If his son could talk right now, Justin Hooper said, he'd caution other teenagers about what happened to him so they'd consider the dangers he encountered.
His son will have a long recovery ahead, and his son's love for the outdoors will make that a challenge, Justin Hooper said.
"You can't keep him inside," Hooper said.
But family members drew encouragement from their son's response Monday.
"That from him tells me that he's ready to face it," he said.