Tripp Halstead, boy with traumatic brain injury, dies

Tripp Halstead, 7, and Stacy Halstead pose for a portrait in their home in Jefferson, Ga. Tripp, who suffered a traumatic brain injury five years ago when a tree limb fell on him at his day care. He died Thursday. (CASEY SYKES, CASEY.SYKES@AJC.COM)

Tripp Halstead, who survived a traumatic brain injury after a tree limb fell on him five years ago, died Thursday evening, his family confirmed.

In a social media post, Tripp’s mother Stacy Halstead said she went to wake her 7-year-old son up for school when she noticed his breathing was labored.

“I could see his little chest going up and down and his heart rate was high,” she wrote. “We already had oxygen on because it helps him sleep better at night so no alarms had gone off.”

When Stacy Halstead went to move him, Tripp whined and “had crazy diarrhea,” she said. She then called his pediatrician, who told her to bring Tripp in.

“As I was driving to the pediatrician’s office,” she wrote. “I could tell Tripp was getting worse, and I wasn’t sure I had enough oxygen in the tank I brought to make it to Atlanta especially in heavy traffic. “So, we took a detour to Athens.” The family lives in Jefferson, roughly 60 miles from Atlanta.

Doctors performed blood work on Tripp, did x-rays and gave him an IV. They also said his oxygen levels were low and carbon dioxide levels were high.

“They said his left lung was cloudy and it could be pneumonia or a mucus plug, but since they don’t have a (pediatrician) ICU, they are sending us to CHOA (Children’s Healthcare of Atlana),” she wrote.

That was 2 p.m.

By 9 p.m. Thursday, Tripp’s father Bill Halstead confirmed his death to Channel 2 Action News.

On Oct. 29, 2012, Tripp — then 2 years old — was at his Winder day care when a tree branch fell on him, injuring both sides of his brain. The toddler remained in a coma for weeks and was brought home from the hospital nearly 10 months after the accident.

Since then, the family posted regular updates on the Tripp Halstead Updates Facebook account.

Just after 11:30 p.m., Stacy Halstead thanked the loyal following Tripp garnered in the years since his accident.

“There are no words to express how Bill and I are feeling at this moment,” she wrote. “We are beyond devastated and honestly I believe I am in shock...(Tripp) was our whole world.”

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