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Not a toy

n Woolstock youth learns how dangerous a BB gun can be

September 24, 2012
Anne Blankenship ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

In the movie "A Christmas Story," Little Ralphie begs his parents to by him a pellet gun. But his parents hold out, claiming that he will hurt himself with the gun.

"You'll put your eye out," they tell him in the movie.

Michael Henry, 16, knows first hand that a BB gun is not a toy. In August, he was shot in the foot by an acquaintance and has spent the past two months recovering from that wound.

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Michael Henry, with his mom, Becky Kiesecker, has sat out most of the football season at Eagle Grove High School. He was injured when he was shot in the foot by an acquaintance with a BB gun.

A week before school started, Aug. Henry he went to a friend's house and found him shooting a BB gun at birds.

"He fired at me twice and missed. I stopped to read a text message, and that's when he got me in the foot," he said.

Henry's mother, Becky Kiesecker, said the incident was just horseplay, but it was intentional. Henry said the shooting was in retaliation for another BB incident. A couple years ago, the two were shooting at jugs and one of Henry's shots hit a tree and ricocheted off the house and struck the friend in the head.

"I didn't mean to do that," he said.

Since the incident involved a gun shot, the Wright County Sheriff was called in. No charges were filled in the incident.

Kiesecker said she told the sheriff that she thought the other boy's intent was to just make "hurt or make it sting."

"I don't think he expected the outcome that happened," she said.

After the incident, Henry was taken to Van Diest Medical Center.

Kiesecker got the call at work but didn't quite get the whole truth to the story.

"I could hear the panic in his voice," she said. "He said, 'I've been hurt. Somebody's mowing and a rock hit my foot.' He didn't want to get his friend in trouble."

"By the time I got to the hospital, they had already done x-rays and determined that it was a BB in his foot," she said. "I asked him when the truth was going to come out."

Her son eventually told how the accident happened.

The doctors had thought it would be a simple extraction of the BB with a local anesthetic, but upon closer examination, found that the BB was much deeper in the foot.

"The pellet went through his leather tennis shoe, through the side of the foot and the vein, ricocheted off the two toe bones, and barreled down into a muscle, almost exiting the bottom of his foot," his mother said. A CAT scan helped the doctors locate the pellet.

"Michael actually went into shock from the blood loss because the vein was damaged," she said."

Her son was referred to the orthopedic surgeons in Fort Dodge, according to Kiesecker.

"Even the surgeon was amazed that a BB could do that kind of damage," she said.

The injury has curtailed many of his activities.

"It took me out of football. I can't stand on it for very long or it swells up. I have to put ice on it to keep the swelling down," Henry said.

Perhaps the biggest impact on his life, even more than not being able to play football, is not being able to drive. The injury on his right foot has made him dependent upon friends and family for rides.

Several weeks after surgery, the stitches were removed, but when the doctors pushed on the bottom of his foot, the incision split open. So, recovery has been prolonged.

Henry had a BB gun himself until a year ago when Kiesecker found windows shot out.

"He was honest and said he had done it, but that was it," she said. "I told hitm he was through with the gun."

Henry continues his recover from his wound. He said he hopes to get in on the last game or two of the football season.

He's said he's learned a lot from the incident including the importance of being honest and upfront when things happen. He said he had no idea that a BB gun could cause so much damage.

"Don't play around and point a gun at someone, even a BB gun, because it can do a lot of damage," is the advise he gives other youths.



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