CHICAGO (CBS) — South Elgin middle school students wore Cubs gear Tuesday in support of a classmate who is in the hospital, recovering from serious brain and skull injuries suffered in an attack in the hallway.
Another student allegedly slammed 12-year-old Henry Sembdner to the ground on Friday, after Henry bumped into the other student in the hallway between classes at Kenyon Woods Middle School.
Henry suffered multiple facial fractures and bleeding on the brain. He was taken to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin, and later transferred to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he was placed in a medically-induced coma over the weekend. Tuesday morning, he was out of that coma, his breathing tube had been removed, and he was half smiling for the camera.
Classmates planned to wear Chicago Cubs gear to school on Tuesday to show support for Henry, since he counts himself among the team’s biggest fans.
Alyssa Andersen has known Henry for years.
“I couldn’t even think straight. I was like, ‘I cannot believe that this happened to my friend.’ I was like, ‘Oh, no.’” she said. “He’s just so sweet. He would do this for anyone else, and he’s just the sweetest kid ever.”
At times, Henry’s classmates feared he might not survive.
“Seeing him in the hospital and stuff, all the pictures, it’s just so sad,” classmate Alex Best said.
Parents also have been moved by Henry’s plight.
“I can’t imagine what is mother is going through. As a mom, I just every single night when I put my kids to bed I’m just thankful and grateful that it’s not my child in that hospital bed,” Jennifer Best said.
Meanwhile, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said in a Tweet that he has a couple tickets waiting for Henry after he recovers and visits Wrigley Field.
“We’re just heartened by the outpouring of support and compassion. I know the family of the injured student, Henry, feel that way,” District U-46 communications director Mary Fergus said.
Fergus said Henry’s condition has improved dramatically since Friday. He has been taken off a breathing tube, and is breathing on his own. He also has been talking, eating, and starting to walk around his room.
While District U-46 officials won’t reveal much about the student believed to have caused Henry’s injuries, police said he did not return to school on Monday. He was taken into custody Friday, and was detained briefly, but was then released to his parents.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s office is considering an array of possible charges against the student who attacked Henry.