‘5 kids matched him:’ Boy comes back to life after parents sign papers to donate his organs

MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. — An Alabama boy’s survival is being called a miracle after he suffered severe brain trauma from a dune buggy accident. He came back to life after his parents signed the paperwork to donate his organs.

Trenton McKinley, 13, of Mobile, Alabama was playing at a friend’s house two months ago. He was riding in a small utility trailer being pulled by a dune buggy for kids. He said his friend pressed on the brakes suddenly, causing the trailer to flip. He said he quickly threw his friend’s 4-year-old niece off into the grass, but in the process, he got caught in the trailer as it flipped.

“I hit the concrete and the trailer landed on top of my head. After that, I don’t remember anything,” said McKinley.

He was rushed to USA Medical Center for emergency surgery. He had seven skull fractures.

“All I saw was a stretcher with his feet hanging out. He was dead a total of 15 minutes,” said his mother, Jennifer Reindl, with tears in her eyes. “When he came back, they said he would never be normal again. They told me the oxidation problems would be so bad to his brain, that he would be a vegetable if he even made it.”

For the next several days, McKinley was brain dead and barely breathing. His parents were faced with a difficult decision. They signed the papers to donate his organs.

“Five kids needed organs that matched him,” said Reindl. “It was unfair to keep bringing him back, because it was just damaging his organs even more.”

A day before doctors were set to pull the plug, McKinley started showing signs of cognition. He believes he was in heaven while he was gone.

“I was in an open field, walking straight,” said McKinley. “There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.”

Slowly but surely, McKinley is making strides beyond what anyone expected, but it’s not without a struggle. He’s lost 50 pounds, and deals with nerve pain and seizures daily. Despite all that, this kid’s still got a great sense of humor.

“I said I could turn sideways and put salsa in there and eat chips and dip out of my head. No more washing dishes for me!” laughed McKinley as he referred to the dent in his head. “She wouldn’t let me put nothing in it though. I really wanted to see if I could.”

Just talking to the young boy, you would never believe he has already been through three brain surgeries. He’s still got a long road ahead with a lot of medical expenses. McKinley currently only has half of his skull. The missing piece is frozen at the hospital. He will have surgery soon to reconnect it.