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Beaten Boy May Never Fully Recover

A 13-year-old boy beaten into a coma in a racial attack can walk and talk, but remains brain-damaged and still needs months of therapy, doctors said Thursday.

Lenard Clark shielded his face with the hood of a Chicago Bulls jacket as he left the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on the way to his grandmother’s car.

“He’s really happy to be going home,” said his mother, Wanda McMurray.

Lenard suffered massive brain injuries on March 21 when his head was slammed into a building and he was kicked repeatedly before being left unconscious in an alley. He was in a coma for nearly a week.

Three white teenagers are accused of beating the black youth because of his race. They are free on bond and have denied involvement in the attack.

When he arrived at the institute on March 28, Lenard was just emerging from a coma and could not leave his bed.

Now, the boy can walk with some assistance, talk, get dressed and brush his teeth, but his cognitive skills have not returned to the level of a normal 13-year-old, said Dr. Lisa Thornton, who is in charge of his rehabilitation.

Lenard now faces months of out-patient physical and skill therapy, but he will no longer need medical care. Thornton hedged on the boy’s prognosis for full recovery.

“Usually, children with his kind of injury fall short of full recovery,” she said.

Because his judgment is questionable, she said, he will require near around-the-clock supervision.

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