Xavier Cunningham, 10, lives in Harrisonville, Missouri, 35 miles from Kansas City. On Saturday afternoon he was playing in his tree house when he was attacked by yellow jackets, a terrifying type of insect. He fell out of the tree and landed face-first on a meat skewer below.

The meat skewer penetrated the young boy’s face, into his skull and out of the back of his head. As reported by the Kansas City Star, Xavier survived the terrifying incident, as the skewer missed his eye, his brain and spinal cord and all major blood vessels. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Boy falls from tree house onto meat skewer

Xavier’s mother heard screaming coming from the garden of the family’s house on Saturday afternoon and ran downstairs. She said her son came into the home with a meat skewer stuck into his face and through his skull. His terrified mother tried to calm Xavier as he was transported to the local hospital and was telling her he was dying. Gabrielle Miller said the “gravity of the situation” sank in when Xavier said that to her. While she tried to reassure him, he said he could feel the meat skewer

Xavier was rushed to the nearest hospital, after which he was first moved to the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and then to the University of Kansas Hospital, where endovascular neurosurgery specialist Koji Ebersole treated him.

One in a million survival

As reported by the Guardian, Ebersole said it was a “one in a million” thing that the skewer passed through the front of Xavier’s face, was sticking out five to six inches, and hit nothing critical. It was now late in the day on Saturday, but the 10-year-old wasn’t bleeding, which allowed doctors time to prepare for major surgery on Sunday morning.

When Xavier was told he would have to wait, Ebersole said the boy was “remarkably resilient and brave” and was in agreement with the surgeon.

Reportedly the surgery would be complicated due to the fact the skewer wasn’t round in shape, but was square and had sharp edges.

Surgeons would need to pull the skewer out in a perfectly straight manner, as twisting it would cause Xavier severe injury. Ebersole also said there was major concern for the blood vessels in Xavier’s brain when operating to remove the meat skewer.

‘Miraculous’ recovery for a 10-year-old boy

Ebersole said Xavier’s experience was nothing short of “miraculous,” saying the boy would likely face a complete recovery from his injury. He went on to say he has never seen anything that passed to such a depth and was survivable, let alone one that would likely lead to a full recovery.

When telling Xavier of all the medical specialists involved In his surgery, the young boy looked confused, so Ebersole told him all that mattered was the smile on his face.