Kzoo shootings survivor feels ‘normal’ after skull surgery

Abbie Kopf, 14, was among 8 shot in Kalamazoo rampage

Abbie Kopf, Kalamazoo shooting rampage
Abbie Kopf at a doctor's appointment on May 31, 2016.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two and a half weeks after undergoing surgery to replace part of her skull, Abbie Kopf says she feels “normal” again.

The operation on May 13 inserted a plastic plate to reshape the piece of Abbie’s skull that doctors were forced to remove after the 14-year-old was shot in the head.

The teen survivor of the Feb. 20 rampage in the Kalamazoo area — which left six others dead — was at Bronson Hospital Tuesday for a checkup. Abbie’s mom, Vickie Kopf, said the incision from the skull surgery is healing well, but doctors opted to remove only some of the stitches.

“We want to make darn sure it’s completely healed before we pull all of those stitches out,” Kopf said.

Abbie was disappointed.

“Because it itches,” she explained.

Despite leaving some stitches in, doctors were pleased with Abbie’s progress overall. Her mom is also pleased because the teen has not had a seizure since the operation.

“But she has been fighting some pretty bad migraines,” Kopf said.

Doctors have said Abbie will likely never be the same person she was before the shooting. Her mom says her daughter, once quiet and shy, is now outgoing and even outspoken.

“She doesn’t have a filter,” Kopf said. “She pretty much says what she feels.”

Doctors say that’s not uncommon for people who have experienced head injuries.

Abbie’s days are still filled with therapy and appointments, but she hopes to be tutored over the summer and return to Harper Creek Middle School in the fall.

The Kopf family continues to be grateful for the prayers and support of people across West Michigan. They’re hoping people will continue to share their journey via the Facebook and GoFundMe pages the family has set up.

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Online:

Abigail Kopf’s Recovery GoFundMe account

Abbie’s Recovery Facebook page

Inside woodtv.com:

#KalamazooStrong: How you can help

Complete coverage of the Kalamazoo shooting rampage

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