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Teen Tennis Player Nearly Dies In Freak Accident

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota boy didn’t just get the wind knocked out after hurting himself on a tennis court — he nearly died days later after injuring his intestine.

Jesse O’Brien, of Mentor, Minn., ran into the net at full-speed last spring, and he’s been recovering at several hospitals ever since. He is now at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“I think we almost lost him four times,” said Jesse’s mother, Laura Watne.

She recalled his medical issues starting when he couldn’t keep down liquids. She thought he had the flu.

“I just thought he was sick,” Watne said. “He was vomiting.”

O’Brien had been playing a game with his buddies on the tennis court. He ran into the net at full speed, and the wire that runs along the top hit him in the stomach.

The high school sophomore bounced back, fell on the ground and got the wind knocked out of him.

“A friend helped me up,” he said.

A few days later, O’Brien went into the hospital.

“He punctured a part of his small intestine, and then the bowel was leaking out in his system,” Watne said.

The pressure put on O’Brien’s body when he hit the net likely caused damage that affected his entire system.

He’s now working with physical, occupational and speech therapists. He has to teach his muscles and nerves all over again.

“Every day he’s getting better and better,” Watne said. “His spirits are getting better. I still got my baby.”

O’Brien hopes the small steps he’s taking in recovery will add up to much bigger things down the road. He now has to learn how to walk again.

Once he gets better, he’d also like to skateboard again. He might be back at the Mayo Clinic in another month.

O’Brien’s mom has found ways to brighten his days. She’s taken him out of the hospital for breakfast, to see a movie and to run to the mall for some new shoes.

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