One of the three Palestinian college students who were shot while walking in Vermont may not be able to move his legs for the rest of his life after a bullet became lodged in his spine, according to his family, who shared his account of the attack with CNN.
A 20-year-old junior at Brown University, Hisham Awartani, is starting to come to terms with the “very long road he has in front of him” after he and two longtime friends from the Israeli-occupied West Bank were shot while strolling through Burlington on Saturday, his mother, Elizabeth Price, said.
Awartani has an “incomplete spinal injury,” meaning he can feel his legs but can’t move them, Price told CNN’s Poppy Harlow from Amman, Jordan, Tuesday morning. She said she is working to travel to the US to be with her son and hopes to arrive in about 24 hours.
“The last I knew, he was still in the ICU, immobilized, to try and get the swelling down on his back,” Price said.
Awartani’s clavicle is also broken and he has a fractured thumb, Price said. And because of the spinal injury, he has difficulty regulating his body temperature. He is expected to have between one and four weeks in spinal trauma care, followed by months in physical therapy, Price said.
King Abdullah II of Jordan has offered his support, Price said.
“The king’s personal physician has reached out to me to convey his majesty’s concern for Hisham and the other boys, and is hoping to send a specialist to meet Hisham and identify what kind of support Hisham needs,” she told CNN.
Price previously said she believes her son has the determination to regain movement in his legs, though the doctors told her it was currently not possible.
“He’s just a very resilient young man and he’s been trying to keep everyone’s spirits up by joking and just trying to be as calm as possible,” Price said. “We are determined to work with him and support him and get the best possible care.”