'Horse Play' leaves East Cary Middle School student seriously injured

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An East Cary Middle School student is in the hospital after being seriously injured in school. (WTVD)

An East Cary Middle School student is in the hospital after being seriously injured in school.

School administrators said Wednesday that an unfortunate chain of events led to Riley needing emergency brain surgery.

The 12-year-old's father, Joe Shields, told Eyewitness News it happened in Riley's science class around 2 p.m. Monday. He said his son was pushed from behind, Riley tried breaking his fall with his hands, but smacked his head on a desk.

Joe said Riley's teacher sent him downstairs to the main office to be picked up. Once his mom arrived, she knew something was wrong.

"She went up there and she said, 'No, that's not a bump. Something's wrong.' And told them to call 911," explained Joe.

Once at the hospital, doctors performed a cat scan and found blood in Riley's brain. He had a compressed fracture and needed surgery.

The school's principal Kerry Chisnall said this was not a case of bullying. He released this statement on Thursday:

The East Cary Middle School family is saddened to report a terrible accident which occurred Monday afternoon, April 27, 2015, shortly before dismissal. One of our students, Riley Shields, sustained a major head injury when another student was pushed, and then inadvertently collided into Riley. As Riley fell, he hit his head on a table. This horrible and unexpected accident resulted in Riley undergoing surgery for his injuries. We have taken all necessary actions to make sure a full and complete investigation occurred as well as ensured and reiterated safety procedures for our students and staff. Our staff has reached out to the Shields' family and Riley is in our thoughts. The East Cary family wishes Riley a full and speedy recovery.

Joe said Riley is still in pain and only stays awake for a few minutes at a time. Joe said his son does not want to go back to school, out of fear for his safety.

"I mean he's 12 years old, you shouldn't have to be scared to go to school," Joe said.

Riley's parents expect him to remain in WakeMed's ICU through the weekend.

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