Highland Park, Community

Bears hook up Highland Park survivor Cooper Roberts with new beach wheels

Cooper Roberts is beach-ready thanks to the Chicago Bears.

Just in time for summer, the Bears in conjunction with Devices 4 the Disabled gifted Roberts — an 8-year-old Highland Park shooting survivor — with a special wheelchair that can better travel through sand.

Cooper Roberts, his twin brother, Luke, and their mother were among the dozens of people injured in the 2022 shooting. Cooper suffered a severed spinal cord, as well as other injuries, and is paralyzed from the waist down. He endured numerous procedures and months of physical and emotional treatment during a monthlong hospital stay and then weeks of residence at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

He returned to school part-time at Braeside Elementary in October 2022. According to a report from Chicago bears senior writer Larry Mayer, Cooper enjoys swimming and competes with an adaptive swim team at ShirleyRyan.

The Roberts family — Cooper, Luke, their sister Emily, Mom Keely and Dad Jason — visited Bears practice on May 31, and afterward were surprised with the beach mobile.

“I feel like I am a really hard person to surprise,” Keely said to the Bears on May 31. “But I did not see that coming. I had no idea. That was a huge surprise. It’s been a huge need.

She added, “He loves to swim; it’s something he enjoys. He loves to just be at the beach. It’s a passion of his. Getting to the beach, getting down into the sand, it’s impossible to do in his regular wheelchair. It’s absolutely impossible. It’s one of those things that as a family we never would have been able to really help Cooper with without the use of a beach wheelchair.”

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories