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Elko teen hospitalized in Salt Lake, in coma with brain bleeding after family says he was bullied

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 16:35:50-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- An Elko, Nevada mom said her teen son is hospitalized at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, because of an incident on school grounds that she believes is linked to bullying.

It's been an exhausting week and a half for Sandra Davidson, staying by her son's side hundreds of miles from home.

"He's been in a coma," she said. "He woke up two days ago, and he can't talk. He can't move."

16-year old Neo Hobbs can't yet tell her what happened to him, but Davidson described what may have unfolded.

Davidson explained Neo had been complaining of another student at Elko High School bullying him.

"This boy was saying stuff about him, and I told Neo, 'Just ignore it.' He says, 'I am, mom. The best I can.'"

When Davidson suggested Neo tell the school about the bullying, she said he told her he didn't want to "tell on" the other student. She said she offered to tell the school instead but said he told her he didn't want to make it worse.

On Jan. 17, Davidson received a call that Neo had been sent to the hospital in Elko, and was unconscious.

She said she wasn't sure what happened. "All I know is, he was hit," she said.

A CAT scan showed bleeding on Neo's brain, Davidson said, and Neo was flown to Salt Lake City for brain surgery.

"It shifted his brain. Made it bleed and bruised really, really bad," Davidson said. On top of that, Davidson said Neo's skull was fractured.

12 days later, she said Neo was moved from the ICU to the trauma unit at Primary Children's Hospital.

"He has to have a lot of physical therapy," she said. "He has to learn how to walk, talk, brush his teeth, feed himself. He has to learn all that over again."

His hospital stay could last for two months, Davidson said.

The Elko School District confirmed an incident took place at Elko High School on Jan. 17. The school district superintendent said it was found to be a confrontation and fight between two students. Punches were thrown and a student fell, the superintendent said.

According to Davidson, Doctors are indicating that Neo's injuries could be from something worse.

"They were just asking me, 'He had to have been hit with something,'" she said.

Davidson said the Elko Police Department is investigating. Fox 13 reached out to the Elko Police Department on Tuesday. On Wednesday a police spokesperson confirmed detectives are investigating.

At this time, it's unclear if charges will be filed on the case.

Davidson said the school is supposed to be a safe place to send kids and indicated that's not how she feels after what happened to Neo.

"You send them to school, and you shouldn't have to worry about your kids going to school," she said. "Especially about something like this."

Family friends have set up a fundraising account to help with hospital bills. It can be found here.