Cooper receives visit from former NFL star, no longer needs feeding tube or IV for pain meds

A burst of good news brought a boost to the mood of Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old paralyzed in the Highland Park July Fourth parade shooting.

Cooper is feeling much better now that he no longer needs a feeding tube or an IV for pain medication, according to an update from his family. He's finally able to eat many of his favorite foods, including dill pickle potato chips, Cheetos, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's and Goldfish snacks.

Not only is Cooper starting to eat the food he enjoys, but he's also able to maneuver better without all the tubes. He's even participating in wheelchair races at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, where he's a patient.

"We are all so happy to see him eat," his family said in the update, "and will be working to get some fruits and vegetables back in the rotation!"

Cooper also received a visit from former Pittsburgh Steelers star Ryan Shazier, who learned to walk again after suffering a spinal cord injury during an NFL game in 2017. Cooper's twin brother, Luke, and his parents, Jason and Keely, also met with Shazier.

The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation focuses on giving people with spinal cord injuries and their caregivers the support and funding they require.

"Ryan was transparent, authentic, genuine and gracious in sharing insights with us about his path to recovery," the Roberts family said. "We are so grateful for Ryan's motivational words and great kindness in spending time with Cooper and Luke."

Cooper's family said they're still unsure about his prognosis 50 days after the shooting. They said doctors don't know what Cooper's limitations will be in the future.

Cooper was among the dozens wounded, including his mother and twin brother, when a gunman opened fire on parade spectators. Seven were killed.

A GoFundMe online fundraiser at has raised more than $1.97 million toward a $2 million goal to help pay for Cooper's medical care and future needs.

Cooper Roberts, in the wheelchair, poses with his twin brother Luke, left, his father Jason, second from left, his mother Keely, right, and former professional football player Ryan Shazier, second from right, who learned to walk again after suffering a spinal cord injury in 2017. Courtesy of the Roberts family
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.