Independence Day 2004, 11-year-old Colton Schoonover had spent his birthday money on fireworks. One moment he bent down to place some firecrackers on the ground, the next moment, the unthinkable happened.
Colton says, "I was shooting roman candles and I put one down and then another stray one hit me in the eye." Colton's mother Shanna remembers "They started screaming that a firecracker had injured someone. I found out Colton had gotten hit but I don't remember driving to the hospital and I'm the one who drove."
University Medical Center doctors immediately examined Colton. Shanna Schoonover says, "The first doctor that looked at him said it was real bad." A direct blast from a large roman candle instantly created an intense thermal burn to the surface of Colton's eye and the lids themselves.
Shanna says, "It's been devastating. It's been a long two years. Colton has undergone five surgeries to correct what happened. Now we're just waiting for technology to catch up with Colton."
Dr. David McCartney is Colton's doctor. He specializes in corneal surgery. Dr. McCartney says, "We're looking at restorative surgery where we'll separate the eyelids by surgery, cut down to the surface of the eyeball itself and then restore the front surface of the eye."
Now, 13-years-old, Colton is still waiting for the surgery that could hopefully restore his vision one day. He can only see shadows and light out of his right eye but as you can see his left eye is still on the ball. He's not letting his accident get in the way of his childhood.
Colton says "I'm playing football, basketball, and running track." Colton will suit up for the Southland Junior High football team in the fall. He's still riding dirt bikes and playing in the backyard with this sister like any other 13-year-old.
But he does have this message for anyone else looking to play with fire crackers this Fourth of July. Colton says, "Just wear your goggles. That's all." Shanna adds "Be safe. Don't let this happen to you."
|Fireworks Safety Tips|