Boy crushed by wall talks to Eyewitness News

Eyewitness News Exclusive
January 11, 2008 1:07:51 PM PST
A little boy lost his leg in a terrible accident in the Bronx in July. It was an accident his mother says could have been avoided. Damion Rosa was just walking down the street when a wall collapsed on top of him.

The 11-year-old boy lost a part of his body. But in the process, he learned something about life.

Eyewitness News reporter Phil Lipof has his story.

The first lesson, which is always difficult for a child to learn, is that life isn't fair. At 7:59 one summer morning, Damion was a healthy little boy walking down the street.

One minute later, at 8 a.m., his life was changed forever.

At first glance, Damion Rosa looks and sounds like any other boy his age. But if you look a little closer, you'll see a bandage covering a wound that isn't just skin deep.

At just 11 years old, Damion, or Hopie as his family calls him, has been through hell. And he's not back yet.

On July 1, then 10-year-old Damion was walking to his grandmother's house down the grand concourse in the Bronx. Without any warning, a parapet wall and a huge portion of a building just collapsed on top of him.

Damion was trapped under a pile of bricks, cinder blocks, mortar and rusted metal.

He was rescued by firefighters and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. His left leg had to be amputated.

"I know it's hard for him," his mother, Marinett Diaz said. "Seeing everyone else running around, and he's not able to catch up."

When it comes to that day and what happened, Damion ironically puts up a wall of his own.

Phil: "Could we talk about the day that that happened?"
Damion: "No."
Phil: "No? You don't like talking about it? I understand."

He speaks nothing to the nurses or his doctors, the memory is too painful.

So is daily life now, after at least 10 surgeries and countless infections.

"He crawls around the floor, he hops around," Marinett said. "I have to carry him on my back."

Before the accident, Damion played sports and ran around with his dogs. Afterwards, his days are spent much differently.

In a homework assignment, he was asked a question. What frustrates you? His answer - It bothers me that my leg got cut off. Before I used to run, walk, swim and going to school with my friends. Right now, I cant do anything.

His older sister Hilda wouldn't leave his side in the hospital, and she was there when Damion saw his leg for the first time. He screamed he wished he was dead, she said.

Phil: "Why do you think he said that?"
Hilda: "Because he was in pain and he didn't want to lose his leg."
Phil: "And so he said he wishes he was back under the rocks?"
Hilda: "Uh huh."

But he didn't die that day. He was, for lack of a better word, lucky. And as hard as that is for an 11-year-old to see...

"It could have been way worse," Marinett said. "You gotta be thankful and grateful. I know I am."

Damion has a very long road to recovery ahead, not only a physical recovery, but a mental one as well. It is six months later, and he still can't talk about what happened.

As for the possibility of being fitted for a prosthetic leg, the number of infections and surgeries has prevented that so far. Doctors have actually had to take more of the leg off since the incident happened, so they cannot fit him with the prosthetic until all that is done.