7-Year-Old Hit by Pickup Truck Shows What it’s Like to be ‘Leighton Strong’

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WATERLOO, Iowa  --  Seven-year-old Leighton Pullin was hit by a pickup truck in October, and now his family says his fight to recover is a miracle.

KWWL's Lauren Moss has been following Leighton's story and shows us what it means to be Leighton Strong.

After spending weeks in a coma and months in the hospital, Leighton and his family were finally able to return home--something his family had been hoping would happen for a long time.

"I told people, 'please pray for my grandson, please pray for him,' and they prayed hard said Kathy Harrington, Leighton's grandmother.

Melissa Pullin, Leighton's mother, remembers the day of her son's accident all-too clearly.

"I get flashbacks to when it happened, sitting there, seeing him laying on the ground like that was just the worst ever," she said. "It was the most traumatic thing ever. I can't stop hearing that noise in my head."

The accident happened on October 18th, 2016, when Leighton was trying to go to a friend's house across the street. However, he did not look both ways before crossing the road and was struck by a pickup truck.

The boy suffered severe head injuries, a fractured skull, and numerous broken bones. He was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in critical condition.

After Leighton was unresponsive for weeks, doctors said there was nothing else they could do. With seemingly no other options, Leighton's family was about to make the difficult decision to take him off of life support, until they heard the boy cough and knew there was still hope.

"At one time we was told to make decisions. The next day he coughed, so we didn't have to make that decision, and ever since then it's been uphill for us," said Harrington.

Ever since that cough, Leighton's recovery has been stunning doctors. By November he was communicating with his hand in a wheelchair. Two months later, he's standing with some help and talking again, showing his personality more than ever.

The boy has put in a lot of hard work at Covenant Hospital's rehabilitation center, showing his strength goes beyond even that of his favorite superheroes. After his relentless fight, Leighton is now his own superhero, complete with his own new name: Leighton Smash.

His mother said she was feeling a range of emotions as her son was released from the hospital, but mostly felt happy that they were finally going back home.

Leighton has now started returning to school several days a week for half days, and is even walking again, which is something his family thought might never happen.

"It's just so amazing. Wonderful. It's a reason to believe, because he truly is our miracle," said Harrington.

Time and time again, he proves just how mighty it is to be Leighton Strong.

"If I can walk now, I will go on a trampoline and jump, jump, jump because I'm so happy."

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