BB gun victim facing long road to recovery - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

BB gun victim facing long road to recovery

Story by Megan Boatwright

Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A 10-year-old North Georgia girl shot in the eye with a BB gun is still in critical condition.

Authorities now tell us the girl's nine-year-old cousin pulled the trigger, and preliminary results indicate it was accidental.

Authorities say the BB went through the girl's left eye, traveled through the soft tissue and lodged in the rear of her brain.

The cousins were doing homework together when the nine-year-old found a BB gun in a closet.

"Very unpredictable, exactly how long it's going to take or if people will recover," says Dr. Brian Kalla.

There are still a lot of ‘"if's" right now for the 10-year-old North Georgia girl shot in the eye with a BB gun last week.

"The time frame changes from person to person but typically as you see someone who's had a significant brain injury wake up, they'll go through certain stages," says Dr. Kalla.

Doctor Brian Kalla is a Neurologist at Siskin Hospital and says it's likely the middle part of the 10-year-old's brain suffered the most damage.

"Most of the damage for her is going to be the middle portion of the brain and in the middle portion of the brain are some of the memory things, things related to emotions," says Dr. Kalla.

Police say the girl's cousin found a pump BB gun in the closet. Paramedics say the girl was unresponsive when they arrived at the Chickamauga home.

"It sounds like this girl, based on the fact that she's basically unresponsive or at least has been for some period of time, now had a fairly significant amount of internal damage," says Dr. Kalla.

Kalla says her stay in the hospital could last months and the road to complete recovery could be even longer.

"She is going to need global rehabilitation. She's going to need a multi-disciplinary approach," says Dr. Kalla.

Kalla says one thing she does have going for her is her age.

"There's something we call plasticity and that's the ability of our brain to mold and change over time," says Dr. Kalla.

Police tell me several adults were at the home that day.

They were all outside but had only left the children for a minute.

Preliminary reports ruled the incident as accidental but the investigation is ongoing.

The Walker County Sheriff told me Friday he expects to have things wrapped up in the next 10 days.

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