Manchester teen selected as Kid Captain for Ball State game - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Manchester teen selected as Kid Captain for Ball State game

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- A 14-year old Manchester girl has been selected to be the Kid Captain for Iowa's game against Ball State University on Saturday.

Two years ago, Maleah McCool was airlifted to University of Iowa Children's Hospital, close to death from injuries she suffered in a horrific car crash.

Maleah suffered head and brain injuries, a ruptured bowel, lung damage, and numerous broken bones including almost every bone in her face, her pelvis, right ankle and leg, and left wrist. A damaged kidney was later removed. 

At first, doctors gave Maleah a slim chance of survival, but specialists at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital worked as a team to save her life and repair her broken body.

"Every single person fought to keep her alive and did everything in their power to save her," Maleah's mom, Tami McCool, said.

Maleah spent a month at UI Children's Hospital, staying in the pediatric intensive care unit for much of the time in a medically induced coma that gave her traumatized brain a chance to heal and letting her doctors and nurses work on her other injuries.

After a month, Maleah was moved to a rehab facility closer to home in Waterloo. There, she had to re-learn to walk and talk and endure hours of painful physical therapy.

With tutoring, Maleah was able to make up the time she missed at school and join her classmates the next school year.

Today, except for some short-term memory issues and a few "battle scars," the always-smiling ninth grader at West Delaware High School is doing well in school.  She writes poetry that she sets to her own compositions on the guitar, and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

Maleah's father, William, says that while the experience of having a child so seriously injured was "gut-wrenching," he feels the whole family was well cared for during Maleah's hospitalization.

Maleah is the youngest of four children.  Zachary, 21, is a senior at the UI and plays for the baseball team, Mallory, 22, is a nursing student at Mt. Mercy University and Nicholas, 26, is a teacher/coach at Iowa Valley Schools.

The Hawkeyes kick-off their game against Ball State at Kinnick Stadium just after 11:00 am on Saturday.

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