Kansas 15-year-old miraculously survives after 10-inch knife gets lodged in his skull

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A 15-year-old Kansas boy got a large knife to the face, and doctors say he's extremely lucky.

Jimmy Russell said her son, Eli Gregg, was playing Thursday evening outside of their home in Redfield, about 90 miles south of Kansas City, when she heard him scream.

His family told FOX4 one of the Gregg brothers found the old knife, and they were walking inside to give it to their mom when Eli fell. The teen ended up landing on it face first.

"I can’t really explain it. It just happened very quickly," Eli said in a video released by the University of Kansas Health System, where he was treated.

His mom found him with a 10-inch knife jutting from just below his eye and called 911.

"It looked pretty grim. It was scary," Russell said in the video.

(Photo courtesy The University of Kansas Health System)

The knife was embedded in his skull and extended to just under his brain. The blade's tip, meanwhile, was pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood.

"It could not have had a pound more force on it and him survive that event," said Dr. Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the extraction. "I don't think he would have survived it."

A team of surgeons put together an intricate plan to remove the blade Friday morning. They were prepared for possible bleeding into the brain, but the operation went without a hitch and the artery remained intact.

Within 24 hours of the surgery, Eli was able to talk and make light of the situation.

"He says he is going to stay away from sharp objects," Russell said. "That is very understandable."

She said Eli is doing great and should make a full recovery.

"After you sit down and think about it, you realize, it really was a miracle," Eli's stepfather, Joe Russell said. "He was in micrometers of not walking off the property."

(Photo by Cliff Erwin/The University of Kansas Health System)

The boy is fortunate he ended up in Ebersole's hands, as it was Ebersole who removed a meat skewer from the skull of a 10-year-old Missouri boy last year in an accident that provided equally shocking X-rays.

That boy was attacked by yellow jackets in a tree house in Harrisonville and fell onto the skewer.

"It is almost a miracle," Jimmy Russell said of her son's injury. "It is really, really amazing."

But Eli's stepdad, brothers and family -- they're looking forward to when he comes home.

"I really wanted to play some more games with him before he actually went away," Eli's younger brother, Trevor, told FOX4.

His family said it's lonely in Redfield with Eli and his mom still in Kansas City. They’re hoping to be back home Tuesday.

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