Deonta Brown, 14, is believed to be an innocent victim of gun violence in the city. He was one of two people shot Friday afternoon in the city's South Shore neighborhood.
Deonta's parents and the surgeon who worked to save his life talked about his long road ahead toward recovery Tuesday. The teenager remains intubated and sedated. His loved ones haven't left his side.
"From the grace of God, I'm so happy that he's alive," said Lola Brown, mother.
"I almost lost a part of me. If they would have took Deonte, they would have took part of me," said Darrel Brown, father.
Deonta was shot on his way home from school in the 7700 block of South Kingston. The 7th grade football star, police say, was the unintended victim of a nearby shooting involving two men.
The bullet entered Deonta's abdomen, severing a major vein, an injury so severe that doctors call it "the widow maker".
"Once we knew what this injury was and once we exposed it, we had one chance," said Dr. Donald Liu, chief surgeon, Comer Children's Hospital.
Within minutes of being shot, Deonta was on Dr. Liu's operating table.
"Everybody has to be on their game, and if anybody just has a bad day or actually falls off the curve, the likelihood is that the boy would not survive," said Dr. Liu.
"I thought I was going to drop, you know what I'm saying? When you see your child in that kind of...wow," said Darrel Brown.
Though he lost more than a gallon and a half of blood, Deonta survived surgery and the touch-and-go hours afterward.
"He opened his eyes, and I feel like he was born again. All I asked was, I was just praying, Lord please give him a chance," said Darrel Brown.
When asked if he thinks Deonta can return to the football field, Dr. Liu said, "I think there's nothing that should say he can't."
Police have made no arrests in the case and investigators have not released a description of the man who shot Deonta.
"I know people scared. I'm scared too. But you have to understand these kids have to go to school every single day," said Lola Brown.