Chicago Bears surprise boy paralyzed in Highland Park shooting

There was a special moment during the Chicago Bears practice Wednesday. 

The team invited Cooper Roberts, an 8-year-old boy left paralyzed from the waist down during the July 4 Highland Park parade mass shooting, to Halas Hall for a special surprise. They gave him a wheelchair specially designed for the beach. It has huge, gray wheels.

A big grin spread across Cooper’s face as the Chicago Bears, working with the organization Devices 4 the Disabled, presented the boy with his gift after a Bears practice Wednesday.

"Getting to the beach, getting down into the sand, it’s impossible to do in his regular wheelchair," said a delighted Keely Roberts, the boy’s mother, speaking to the Bears organization. "It’s absolutely impossible. It’s one of those things that, as a family, we would never have been able to help Cooper with without the use of a beach wheelchair."

Cooper got to meet Bears players, coaches and try out his new wheels at the Bears' facility in Lake Forest. Cooper’s father, Jason Cooper, his sister, Emily, and twin brother, Luke, were also there.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields was on hand to push Cooper around in his new wheelchair.

Cooper’s spinal cord was severed by a bullet, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He also suffered organ damage and continues to receive therapy after the shooting at a July 4 celebration in Highland Park. Keely Roberts and Cooper’s twin brother were injured, too, but their wounds were far less serious. His father, Jason, was at the event but not injured. None of his four older sisters was at the celebration.


While he is currently in a wheelchair, Cooper hopes to walk again someday. He continues his rehabilitation at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.